Drew Michael
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Recent Work

Summer 2019

These pieces are my dip into realism and cultural roots as a mask maker.

 
 

Photo By James Signoretti

Full Spectrum

13x7.5x4

Light reflects back images and we see different parts of reality. As I step into realism I continue to explore concepts of reality and perspective. I wanted the viewer to look into this face and feel like they are looking into the thoughts, reflections and beauty of another reality. A ever changing reality. Light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow to create white light. The gaze of this face has two alternating triangle spirals.

July 2019

Yellow Cedar, acrylic, and brass rod

 

Photo by James Signoretti

Twilight

11x17x2.5

This face is looking into the twilight of pink clouds on a blue sky. This gaze is a sliver away from the golden hour. The transition time from light to night. During this piece I was focused on bringing the nose out from the face.

July 2019

Yellow cedar, glass beads, acrylic, ash, ptarmigan feathers.

 

Dawn Tinted Love

16x7x3.5

Dawn Tinted Love is a being who looks into the horizon of transformations. The forehead is the raw untouched rotted out center of red cedar. This piece was gifted to me by a friend named Jim. Thank you James Signoretti for being my lovely model. Funny thing here is the face did not end up looking like James but my focus was to work out some of the realistic features of the lips and eyes. I was challenged with the a shallow depth of material but was able to impart some realism into the gaze of Dawn Tinted Love.

Red cedar, brass plate, acrylic, glass beads, nails, and stain.

June 2019

 

SEDNA

21x9x5

Sedna is a goddess who comes from the legends and dreams of fisher people. As you look into her eyes you can see her looking into the distance. Like she is remembering the day when her family threw her over board. Sedna grabbed the side of the boat in hopes to be saved. Instead of pulling her aboard the boat her fingers were chopped off and fell into the ocean to become the sea mammals, walrus, whale, and seal. She was hit on the forehead and sank to the bottom of the ocean to become the Goddess of the Sea. To please her healers would have to go to her in the ocean and comb her hair. If Sedna is pleased by a healers and the people’s admiration she would provide mammals for he hunters.

MAY 2019

Basswood, brass rod, pearl beads, furniture tacks, dentalium shells, metallic beads, and stain.

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LIFE THROUGH MY VEINS

43X24.5X8.5

“Life Through My Veins” has elements of my time in the nw forests and parks. The spirit of the forests in the NW have taken root. On a path to connect more with grounding elements within my work. This trunk root was given to me by a man named Jim. It had many bugs and the trails left on the wood to prove their existence. I had to clean it out almost to a paper thin skeleton. I wanted to keep the integrity of the main shape and form while highlighting the story these little bug friends left to tell. While making this I have been thinking about my path and where I came from. Having biological roots as a Yup’ik/Inupiaq/Polish man and an adopted family who make the narrative of who I am complete.

MAY 2019

Red cedar, acrylic, nails, glass beads, epoxy resin, brass wire and plate and stain.

 
 
three.jpg
 

Moonscapes

Drew Michael: Moonscapes

04/04/2019 - 04/28/2019

April

Contemporary mixed media sculptor Drew Michael (Inupiaq / Yup’ik Nations) returns to the gallery for his fourth solo exhibition this spring. The young sculptor has been delving deeply into the concepts including shadow selves, spirals, and journeys through mazes to reach understanding. Michael utilizes traditional Yup’ik and Inupiaq mask forms as a launch-pad from which to then explore his contemporary life, adding non-traditional materials and found objects that imbue his masks and mask-forms with resonance. Michael’s works often exhibit a mixture of influences, from Alaska Native to Byzantine icon, 1900s fashion and history to contemporary design, and beyond. Michael is making artwork that draws from his complex and overlapping identities, which include being Alaska Native, Polish, adopted, queer and two-spirit, and peripatetic in his practice. 

This new body of work goes in new directions and breaks fertile ground. For the first time in many years, Michael returns to strictly mask forms with this show, moving away from the draped figures that have recently dominated his aesthetic. These mask forms are the outcome of tapping deep into his emotional and intellectual landscape and emerging with tangible symbols representative of what he finds therein. Using a mixture of carved and found objects, Michael creates assemblages that represent places, people, experiences and moods that have inspired or influenced him, and each exhibition can be read almost as a moment-to-moment diary.

 

19x13x4

“Moonscapes” is a representation of the transitions and spiral of life. I have seen in the moments so short and close and others farther than the stars we can see. The full moon carries and reflects a serenity in the things we can not control a love that is so luminescent.

Basswood, acrylic, blue patina brass and tacks.

January 2019

16X9X5

Inspired by the blues and greens of the northwest. The three spirals are of the three roots of my life story, being native, Polish and adopted. Each bringing parts of who I am into a spiral of my so called life. Is worn as a mask one would see through the two holes with a third eye open above in the forehead. With the patina on the brass the three spirals become birds nuzzled into the neck of the others. This can be configured in other ways.

Basswood, brass with patina, acrylic, nails

March 2019

21X17X7

Roses have been something that I remember to smell each time I walk by them....well do my best to take the opportunity. In this time and age I feel as though I am in a trance. Captured by the beauty of the potential and the dream of this experience in time. We are in the midst of the 20s. What will this time become?

Basswood, brass flowers patina, acrylic, Eurasian Eagle Owl Feathers

March 2019

16X9X5

Inspired by the blues and greens of the northwest. The three spirals are of the three roots of my life story, being native, Polish and adopted. Each bringing parts of who I am into a spiral of my so called life. Is worn as a mask one would see through the two holes with a third eye open above in the forehead. With the patina on the brass the three spirals become birds nuzzled into the neck of the others. This can be configured in other ways.

Basswood, brass with patina, acrylic, nails

March 2019

14X10X3

Connection to the In-between looks through the eyes of a way of connecting to the spiritual, material world and our humanity. If you look at their face you will see a triangle space the draws you in. Into with mystery and the depth of a place that drives how we live. If we remember to live with an awareness and respect of place it will give back in abundance. When I put down the things that distract from this connection a balance and wholeness fills who I am. This connection is with sky (spirit), land (grounding force) and humanity (runs in blood and nature)

Poplar wood, acrylic, walrus ivory, and nails

August 2018

16X15X8

As I move around the Northwest and Alaska I see Orion holding the sky. “Looking through Orion” onto the refections of the moon. They hold love and the cool breathe of winter. #Satellite.

Basswood, acrylic, brass patina, tacks

February 2019

 
 
 

A Night Remembered

2017

These pieces are designed and created with a blending of two places in existence.  This collection was inspired by the fashion and architectural motifs found in the Edwardian Era.  In 1912 the Titanic set sail to America bringing people of high class down to people who wanted to create a new life. The Titanic found its tragic end on April 14/15th, 1912 after striking an iceberg.  This collection pays tribute to the people and the time of style and innovation. 

 
 

A Night Remembered

36X14X7

“A Night Remembered” is inspired by lady’s fashion from 1900 cross-sectioned with a carved ivory feather handle. 

Yellow Cedar, imitation falcon feathers, furniture tacks, acrylic, and stain. 

January 2017

 

This be your lucky star

32x8x3

This Be Your Lucky Star, was inspired by a charm necklace recovered from the RMS Titanic many years after she sank. The being represented here carries a breast plate that is directly inspired by a charm found inside a leather bag on the ocean floor. The beads are strung on metal chain and link. If we open up our hearts and live with love we will find truth. Let love guide the way.

Basswood, copper plate, furniture tacks, copper nails, acrylic, beads, and chain.

February 2017

 

Floating Dream

32x15x9

The designs at the top of this piece are based on those from a stained glass window that was on the main staircase of the Titanic. The designs at the bottom are from its sister ship, the Britannic.

Basswood, Reclaimed Redwood, Acrylic, Polarized Glass, Eurasian Falcon Feathers

February

 

Emergence

30X8x7

Emergence has an origin point in the center of the torso.  This represents a space in which this being is burrowing out ofThe inner beauty is being revealed when a heart is opened and the most vulnerable parts of who one is are nurtured to show their true colors.

Basswood, acrylic, feathers, hardware, nails, and stain.

February 2017

 

 
 

Shadows

This collection is an expression of some of the most powerful moments in 2017.

For sale inquiries please contact me by email or phone.

 
 

Lunar Equilux

31X20X2
She is when you stand outside in the middle of the a cold February night looking at the shadows as they hold space on the snow. She is the summer early morning when the moon and her light color the Earth and all the plants that blanket the ground.  Her energy and spirit radiate out into the universe.  

Basswood, oak, acrylic, and stain.

March 2017

 

 

 
 

shadows

30x12x4
Shadows of my heart are aching. This spirit is drifting in an abyss. This whole space within my heart is dark and in a small way grounded. Balance is a reality. I must fall into it. Let the waters flow and the light guide the way.

Basswood, acrylic, chain, pendants, stain.

May 2017

That Faithful Sky, Upward and beyond

40X9.5X2
She is the embodiment and lady of honor representing the lost souls on that faithful night April 14/15, 1912.  Each green cross represents the bodies found floating lost at sea in early April and up into May, 1912.  The red is the fire of spirit grounded in the root of humanity. The face is covered with a moon.  Funny thing about this moon is that on the night of the sinking of the Titanic there was no moon to be seen.  The weather was dark and calm and a possible mirage was obstructing the view of the iceberg that sorrowfully took the Titanic and its lost souls.  

Basswood, acrylic, chain, metal pendants, nails and stain.

March 2017

 

 

arctic guardian

40X11X3
“Arctic Guard” is the story of a guardian of the north.  She travels throughout the north helping others release energy trapped within hard hearts.  The imagery is based on color pallet motifs of the Edwardian Period.  I was heavily influenced by the White Start Line of the Titanic.  This was further mimicking the Roman and Greek saints or heroes carved in stone or wood.  The stars are hand cut and shaped.  The center piece in the heart space rotates on an axis. 

Basswood, acrylic, oil pint, nails, steel plating, stain.

January 2017

 

 

Dream Mask

40x26x4

Dreammask is a spirit that showed itself to me while I was in Quinhagak, Alaska. This spirit had red along the chin. I feel representing the strength and root of the place and people who live and lived there. The nose is shaped similarly to the one on the mask I found in the house floor. The color on the cheeks are of the earth and show the connection we have with the places where we live. Especially our connection to land and spirits that live around.

Basswood, acrylic, handmade nails from France, glass beads, pearl, chain, feathers, bentwood.

September 2017

 
 

Fall 2016

 
 

What is the Inua of Drew

22X20X6
The face of my character is open at the mouth to show the inner Inua representation of my true self.  The nails represent the understanding that I am part of a larger picture of spirit and energy.  The universal life energy flowing directly into the heart of this being carved with an angle on each side of the enter divide within the circle itself.  This is love flowing through.  

Basswood, dyed caribou hair, poplar wood, screws, copper nails, washers, brass plating, stain.

October 2016

 

 

Spirit of myself

36X8X13
The face on top of this being is looking to the heavens for knowledge, wisdom, and love.  The teeth on the side of the being are open to show the effort and vulnerability of becoming my true self. The animal parts in the cage in the heart space were meant to be a rat that represents something inside me that takes over when I try to love Evan.  How do I let this creature out and get it free?  This body is both human and animal, like a seal, to represent the connection and healing placed in the earth.  “At this point in my relationship with Evan I am working on letting go to trust him.  I seem to have a hard time trusting him in my journey of love and life.  Things I have experienced at a young age must have placed in me feelings I did not have words for and still do not have words for but I react to these emotions.  I must connect to my higher self and animal self in order to love him without reservation.”

Basswood, wire, beads, acrylic, oil paints, hemp rope, and stain.

November 2016

 

 

Impositions into my spirit

24.5X7X8

When I created this piece I was trying to open up the base of the form to contrast my typical style of a long form with a singular base point.  One may look at the ivory poking out of the form and think it may be phallic but when I created this piece I had been experiencing stomach pains because of some emotional trauma and it felt like something was stabbing into my stomach. The quills represent a release of tension.

Basswood, acrylic, porcupine quills, ivory, stain.

2016

 

Aggravated Organizms

2013-2016

Overview

"Aggravated Organizms" is a collection of 3ftX5ft masks carved by Drew Michael and painted by Elizabeth Ellis.  Each piece is a representation of one of the top ten diseases affecting Alaskan communities.  The magnified masks explore how all living organisms are composed of cells and sometimes these bodies of cells are overtaken by the complexities of life.  This merging of science, health, and art is a powerful expression of ideas and topics that need to be explored in creative ways.

Engagement

Part of the engagement process for this project is about connecting people to topics through art.  During the 3.5 years, spanning from May 7th, 2013 - October 1, 2017, these masks representing 10 diseases within our communities across Alaska and the lower 48 We have opened up the opportunity for people affected by any one of these particular diseases to sign the backs of the masks themselves.

 

Drew Michael and Elizabeth Ellis sitting with Aggravated Organizms opening night June 21st, 2013. Photo by Douglas Reynolds.

 
 
 

A preview of Aggravated Organizms, by Elizabeth Ellis and Drew Michael.

Opens Friday June 21st, 2013 at Out North Contemporary Art House

Video by Joshua Loweman

 
 

Elizabeth Ellis and Drew Michael in the finishing touches to the first of ten large scale masks were built. May 2013.

Elizabeth Ellis and Drew Michael working on large scale masks for their opening show of Aggravated Organizms 2013. Photo by Loren Holmes

Cancer Masks in process. Photo by Drew Michael

Influenza Masks just on opening day in the Out North Gallery on June 21st, 2013. Photo by Douglas Reynolds.

Cancer Mask on first test of metal stands. Fabrication by H&K Sheetmetal inc. 2013

Drew Michael working on the Aggravated Organizms Arthritis mask before it had burning ascents added. Photo by Loren Holmes 2013

Elizabeth Ellis painting Fetal Alcohol Syndrome mask 2013. Photo by Loren Homes

Drew Michael while building HIV, one of ten Aggravated Organzims masks in the spring of 2013. Photo by Katie Baldwin.

Process for transforming the masks in fire at the Anchorage Museum.

 

Boulogne sur mer, France

2016

 

 Diaspora Art Collective

Originator/co-curator

2013-2018

 

Diaspora Art Collective- 20 Shades show at BlueHolloman Gallery 2015

 

Spenard Church of Love Mural

2018

 
 

 

From the Vault

1997-2015