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international painting annual 4 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Michael Mahoney
Macomb, Illinois


detail image


I am a perceptual painter so my subject matter is what I see, generally in the studio but occasionally out of doors, and the still life has been the most recurrent subject of late. I have painted still life paintings since I was a student when seeing other artists I admired use the genre to make expressive, vital paintings convinced me that it was viable for my work. I saw it as a challenge as well. Looking back I recognize that the constraints inherent in working within the genre have been beneficial to me. I seem to need something physical to engage with, something outside of myself.

My arrangements are arrived at intuitively. I'll just start grabbing things and moving them around, looking carefully, and if I don't feel something I keep moving things around. I should say that some formal considerations are involved; I recognize rhythms, contrasts and similarities, and try to build on them. But until that moment arrives when I make the discovery that "this is it!" I have no subject.

Many of my paintings tend to have a still and calm quality to them – I like to think of them as meditative. I am attracted to paintings that have a solemn presence, a gravitas, that evoke a kind of meditative response, but some kind of tension has to be present as well and it often comes from contrasting pictorial elements: awkward tangencies, a seeming imbalance, jutting angles.

Most objects evoke associations and these may have an effect on my choices - but my paintings are not about those associations. I am not interested in messages. I hold to the belief that my feeling experience in relation to the subject can be absorbed into the work and embodied in the painting. I like this quote from Matisse: "A work of art must carry in itself its complete significance and impose it upon the beholder even before he can identify the subject matter." In my own words, I prefer as much as possible not to let words, messages, or information come between the viewer and the painting in it's tangible reality, its materiality.





born:1950, Detroit, Michigan



Wayne State University BFA 1972

Wayne State University MFA 1978


selected awards/honors

Individual Creative Artists Grant, Michigan Council for the Arts, 1990

Individual Creative Artists Grant, Michigan Council for the Arts, 1987


selected publications

International Painting Annual 3, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center, 2014

Pastel National Exhibition Catalogue, The Wichita Center for the Arts, 2014


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Imagination to Representation, West Central Illinois Art Center, Macomb, Illinois, 2014

Recent Works, Len G. Everett Gallery, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois, 2014

Recent Works, Southeastern Community College, Burlington, Indiana, 2014


selected group shows

2014 Pastel National, The Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, Kansas, 2014

Painting the Familiar and the Ordinary: Contemporary Still Life, Western Illinois University Art Gallery, Macomb, Illinois, 2014

The Art of Description, Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2013-2014

64 Arts National Juried Exhibition 2013, Buchanan Center for the Arts, Monmouth, Illinois, 2014



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