Phantoms in the Front Yard - Group Show
Friday Nov 7th, 2014 - One day only.
Open during the day, with reception/party at night
See Phantomsinthefrontyard.com for details.
Big print Project Show and Auction
on Facebook September 27, 2014
August 1-3, 2014
The Big Print Project
with New Leaf Editions on Granville Island, Vancouver, BC.
15 artists! 4 x 8 foot woodcuts! A steamroller! A BBQ party!
All rolled into one amazing BC Day long weekend
THE LURE - New Paintings and Bronzes, at Gallery Jones, Vancouver.
June 5th - June 28th, 2014. Show extended to July 10th, 2014
(Image detail of 'Hope and Punches' oil on linen, 2014.)
Opening reception: Thursday, June 5, 2014, from 6 - 9 pm.
with musical guest Tonye Aganaba.
Installation photos for 'The Lure' at Gallery Jones, Vancouver, June 2014.
GALLERY JONES, VANCOUVER
1725 West Third Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6J 1K7
Tuesday - Friday: 11am - 6pm
Saturday: noon - 5pm
(and by appointment)
Press release from Gallery Jones:
Opening reception: Thursday, June 5, 6-9pm,
with musical guest Tonye Aganaba
Exhibition dates: June 5 - 28
Michael Abraham has been a successful full-time artist for over two decades with a history of dramatic invention, and a popular motif of his is that of material desire. His new exhibition, titled 'The Lure', delivers a complex and multi-faceted examination of the human condition of wanting in a series of beautifully painted canvases that echo the epic works of Renaissance art, images that are so loaded with the metaphysical.
As a title, 'The Lure' epitomizes what Abraham is wrestling with through his narrative paintings. Read as a noun, it is not difficult to see what the lure is in several of the storylines depicted. To describe the paintings themselves as alluring, which they are, implicitly challenges the promise of easy satisfaction, especially given the darker aspect of some of the narrative content. This seems to be essential to the overall practice that Abraham has been engaged in over his artistic career: can there ever been a satisfying resolution to the human condition of desire and longing?
This latent anxiety, the undercurrent of tension, is the current that keeps Abraham's energies floating along and his creativity bubbling to the surface. There is often an edge, the potential for darker realities to emerge, that hides within the innocence of the paintings. For instance in 'The Hook', perhaps the most optimistic of the paintings in the exhibition with its bright colours, solid composition and subject matter that leans to the lighter side of life, there is still a hook, the central and most important element, hanging there threatening both the subsistence efforts of the bird and the idyllic reverie of the man.
The moral and philosophical complexities present in many of Abraham's paintings create a type of post-modern parable. The moral of the story is often purposefully ambiguous or open to interpretation. 'The Conceptualists' is just such a painting where the protagonist is indiscernible from the antagonist. Based on the title, it would traditionally follow that the character identified as the Conceptualist would be the protagonist. But in the era of full-blown irony, this could be a thinly veiled critique of Conceptualism. To blur the lines further, the visual parable could be read in such as way as to make the builder of the straight tower of blocks the Conceptualist, fitting his creation to the agenda of a school of thought. Or the Conceptualist could be the architect of the improbable tower of cubes, working not in the realm of practicality, but in the abstract world of ideas.
The ambiguities and dichotomies depicted in this series of paintings are the life-blood of Abraham's creative process. His work has been described as psychological or magical realism, and it is an apt description, but it doesn't encompass the moral struggle that Abraham happily engages in. For all the unknowns that Abraham celebrates, it is interesting that the only written words in the exhibition, squeezed between the fingertips of the character in 'Hope and Salvation' are "IN GOD WE TRUST" (wink, wink).
- Shane O'Brian, Gallery Jones, June 2014.
Installation during 'The Lure' exhibition.
Nov 27, 2013
Two of Michael's paintings are now in the collection of The Rockford Museum of Art, Rockford, Illinois, USA.
Timeless (Pastorale for a Minute), 2000, oil on linen, 48 x 44 inches.
Coronation Day #2, 1998/1999, oil on linen, 44 x 48 inches.
Nov 11–Nov 30, 2013.
Phantoms in the Front Yard - Shed.
A group show with figurative artists' collective Phantoms in the Front Yard.
7-9 pm, Thursday, Nov 14, 2013
885 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
MICHAEL ABRAHAM: APOLOGUES, A Retrospective of Selected Works 1991-2013.
July 20 - August 31, 2013
The Art Gallery At Evergreen Cultural Centre, along with the help of Gallery Jones, have borrowed back a good number of larger paintings from collecters, along with paintings and sculptures from my own personal collection:
Opening Reception: July 21, 4 - 6pm
Artist Talk with Michael Abraham, July 21, 3 - 4pm
Evergreen Cultural Centre is at 1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC. ph# 604-927-6555
Preview Magazine article for upcoming public gallery show: Apologues
June 22nd, 2013
Done! "The Big Fish", bronze, 15x14x14 inches, 2013. see HOT Page for more images.
June 1st, 2013
Photo of Big Fish Eat Little fish almost finished!
How a sculpture is made, from start to bronze...video of Lost Wax Casting Process
BLOODLINES: A group show with figurative artists' collective Phantoms in the Front Yard
May 23 – 29, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday May 25, 8pm
Artists in attendance
at The Waterfall Building, 1540 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 1H2
Gallery Hours: 12 to 5 pm
Thursday May 23rd, to Wednesday May 29th, One week only!
About the painting Bloodline, Witness to History:
“Upon discussing notions of heritage, history and culture, I was inspired to explore some of my family’s history, and was amazed at how we are all so connected to interesting and important moments in history, and how that there is a wealth of stories that still resonate in today’s political climate. I took these thoughts to create the painting Bloodline, Witness to History, which was exhibited in the group show' Bloodlines, with the 'Phantoms in the Front Yard', the figurative artists group in Vancouver.
A darker innuendo is what is often at play in my thinking, even when painting something of a lighter nature.
I begin with a brief family history:
I am fortunate enough to have had a grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great Grandfather from my mother’s side that were all great Photographers.
My Maternal great-great-grandfather George Arless was a staff photographer with William Notman (photographer to the Queen), in the mid-nineteenth century. He photographed some of the first hockey games in Montreal, captured early Irish immigrant life in Montreal, including urban floods and natural scenes, and did much portrait work. Some of his photographs are housed at the McCord Museum in Montreal.
My Grandfather, Lieutenant Richard Arless (Buster), was a War Photographer, a press photographer, and a commercial photographer, capturing the Second World War, including key battles Nazi submarine surrenders and much more. As a pilot, he was the aerial photographer for Expo 67. He was the cool old Gramps that told war stories. His many thousands of photographic negatives are archived at the National Archives in Ottawa.
My Maternal Grandmother was the head of the Catholic woman’s league in Montreal for a time.
My Father escaped from Hungary in 1957, to flee the communist takeover of Hungary, having to lift logs across a minefield to get across borders. He came to Canada with five dollars. He never talked much about his history. I do know some of his friends were “taken avay”(sic)” when he was young. He preferred to come and make a new life in Canada, moving on from the past.
My Dad had a fine collection of art, architecture, eastern religions, philosophy and history books and more when I was a kid. I think this availability of books led to my love of art, painting, and history.
From the little I do know, I remember my Dad telling me only two things about my Paternal Grandmother. She was an assistant painter, painting the ceiling of a church that was at one time a mosque, in Pecs, Hungary. She passed away when my father was 12, having had an aneurism when the power went out one day. I have no photographs of her. I have recently found pictures of the mosque/church on the Internet. These became the departure point for my painting…
The painting ‘Bloodline, Witness to History’ is an angst yet hopeful homage to the past, to the mid twentieth-century war-years, to European culture, and to my Grandparents. I tried to encapsulate the history of my Grandparents and their witnessing of history, from my understanding of folksy Hungarian life, to military intervention, and struggles, getting dual nature of war and peace, and in the familial interest in religion and spirituality from both grandmothers. I also wanted to show the desire for humans to ascend the ladder to hope, glory, and understanding of the nature of God, and life. Big task, I know! LOL!
I liked adding the ladder, and the traditional folk pattern, the lightness, getting “back to the Garden” to quote Joni Mitchell.
I think artists are always reaching up, reaching out.
I initially thought of the Guernica light bulb when I was thinking of my grandmother having had an aneurism when the lights went out. I consider Picasso my figurative art grandfather. I added the Guernica element at the bottom left, as art capturing the atrocities of war, an impossibility to do completely and yet there it is, as an artifact to another 20th century atrocity. This element of the painting takes on an absurd Pop-Art sensibility, somehow trivial. Picasso mused about whether art can affect change. It may not affect change, but it can capture the zeitgeist.
The Florentine artist Fra Angelico was a figurative grandfather too., for his softness, light, colour… The Fra Angelico- esque Eden garden feet at the top right of the painting contrast the grey Picasso head.
The idea of the Mosque, then church, intrigues me. In the painting the ceiling is the being painted by my grandmother, her face concealed, as I don’t know what she looks like… similar to not knowing “the face of God”, the supposed grand architect of all things. Here she is holding the blood of life at the tip of her brush. I put my grandmother in the building, the same mosque/church that can be seen from across the square. I liked the idea of looking at the same thing from a distance, somehow to get another perspective on things, an Escher-esque, cubistic understanding not of space, but of thought. I also realize we can frame history in many different ways. There are no truths, only each individual’s truth. For me this idea reveals a thought that there is no ‘us and them’, but that there is ‘us as them’.
The sepia sailors, out of place in the town square, enjoying conversational moment, are taken from a photo my Grandfather took of soldiers, and I thought it was interesting to see this fading photo, a history disappearing over time….
The conflicts of eastern and western cultures and religions we see today began centuries ago. At one point I though my dad said the Church was a mosque, then church, then mosque, then church, but I can find no record of this in my web search. I learned that the slogan for the city of Pecs, Hungary, where my Grandmother painted is “The City Without Borders”. I love this idea as it holds hope and openness, something I always wish for the world. Yet there is the truth that borders protect, secure systems and maintain order. So here we have ideals versus reality ever present in our ever-changing world.
In doing this painting I was reminded about how I question so many things about church, power, control, religion, and hierarchies. I am often frightened by the mobilization of the masses, be they religious fanatics, and of power mongering dictators, and I'm frightened by the nature of forces beyond any one individual’s control. The horse, appearing De Chirico like, taken from a statue in the square outside of the mosque/ now church represents the threatening nature of these overwhelming forces. My thoughts race around religion, politics, power, war, hope, thoughts of Eden, and the dual nature of life, threats, civility, conformity, social order, borders, fascism, life and death, the list goes on, Jesus, spirit, harsh reality, gentle nature, totalitarianism….
Life is the Yin, the Yang, and everything in between.
Our Grandparents, had a lot to deal with, and not unlike us, had a lot to ponder. I often think there is too much to ponder, as nothing is ever quite what it seems.” - Michael Abraham, May 2013.
March 10th, 2013
I have been selected by the Federation of Canadian Artists Board of Governors to recieve the status of SFCA (Senior Signature Membership).
February 27th, 2013
Working on a sculpture... Big Fish Eat Little Fish.
ready for the foundry... let the bronze age begin.
January 23-27, 2013
LA ART SHOW, Los Angeles Convention Center, LA, USA.
Gallery Jones will be representing recent work during the art fair.
Power Couple, 48 x 40 inches, oil on linen, 2012.
'Armoured Heart' and 'All Day Sucker' available.
Also mentioned at:
December 2012: detail of copper etching plate above.
NEW INTERVIEW. NOVEMBER 8, 2012.
November 9th - 15th, 2012
PHANTOMS IN THE FRONT YARD PRESENT: IN OTHER WORDS
Opening night: November 9 at 7pm
I was an adjudicator for DISCOVERY, Seymour Art Gallery's emerging artists show to be held january 2013. North Vancouver, BC.
November 17th, 2012
19th Annual ART FOR LIFE Fine Art Auction
A drawing was donated to the Art for Life fundraiser silent auction
Details to the fundraiser : www.artforlife.net
February 3rd, 2012
Group show at Gallery Fukai - 602 Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 1R1
Opening reception: Friday, February 3rd, 2012, 8pm - late
Muse, oil pencil on paper, 12x18 inches
Muse, oil pencil on paper, 12x18 inches
Leg Lifter, oil pencil on paper, 12x18 inches.
Egg / Benedict, oil pencil on paper, 12x18 inches.
Solo exhibition by Michael Abraham, at Gallery Jones, Vancouver, www.galleryjones.com
Opening Reception October 6th, 2011
show runs from Oct 5th to 29th
Michael's drawn lithograph "Inner Glow" is on the cover of Canadian Poet Elana Wolff's new poetry book 'Startled Night', released by Guernica Editions, Toronto, Fall 2011 www.guernicaeditions.com
September 2011, Michael was awarded 2nd Place at the Steveston Grand-prix of Art., a three-hour on-the-spot painting competition/fun event.
Michael was an adjudicator for the Federation of Canadian Artists' 'Painting on the Edge' show, and for the South Delta Artists' Guild 'Oil and Water' show.
May 2011 'On Great Men'
Group show with Phantoms in the Front Yard artists collective. 564 Beatty Street Vancouver
Michael with 'Tom's Great Leap', Photo by Barb Pearson.
May 6-29, 2010 solo exhibition:
All That Glitters, Gallery Jones, Vancouver.
'Unite with Art' Live Auction Gala for UNICEF, June 3rd, 2010. www.unitewithart.com Michael’s painting raised 7000$ in 2008 and 4000$ in 2010 Unite for Children Unite against AIDS’.
Los Angeles Art Fair
January 23-27, 2008 (through Gallery Jones, Vancouver) www.laartshow.com
Michael has completed four paintings for the Vancouver Opera Society for the 2008/2009 season. www.vancouveropera.ca
Toronto International art fair - October 25th - 29th, 2007 (through Gallery Jones, Vancouver)
Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles - May 12 - June 30, 2007 (Arena - solo show of recent works), as well as summer group show 2007. www.janbaum.com
With Jan Baum in 2007.
Courteney Cox at home with 'Aback'. Photo credit Andrew Macpherson.