Night Symphony No. 1
New Jersey plays a starring role in this photographic series. My images depict the familiar, dated landscapes of the state’s suburban-industrial environment set in the darkness of night. And while human interaction is the focal point of each image, the characters are seen from a distance – as though the viewer is spying on the action. This state feels at odds with the current calendar, with some areas still firmly rooted in the 1940s. The actors and the landscape combine as a still frame from a film noir that was never made; there is a story unfolding and an unmistakable undertow of menace. It’s just what we expect of New Jersey.
“New Jersey is my muse, but we have an open relationship.”
Michael has lived in New Jersey since last century, which is just about the time it takes to get to know a place. His images are deeply rooted in imagined authenticity, capturing the cultural artifacts that together deﬁne our collective vision of this peculiar, marvelous, and most American of places.
And yet nothing in these photographs is real, for Michael’s images are photographs of dioramas. He builds, paints, and lights 1:87 scale models, using hand-painted figures as his actors. Backgrounds are enlarged images on back-lit screens, enabling the complete composition to be captured in a single studio take. This approach enables Michael to create every aspect of the photographs he wants to see.
His large-scale photographic prints on cotton rag have been widely exhibited in museums & galleries both nationally & internationally. Recent exhibitions include the Morris Museum, George Billis Gallery, Mana Contemporary, Gallery Kayafas, Griffin Museum of Photography, Museum of New Art, Sydney Mishkin Gallery, George Segal Gallery, and CICA Museum of Contemporary Art. Recent art fair booths include Aqua Art Miami and Art Fair 14C.
Michael’s work is represented on Artsy by both Mana Contemporary and SHIM Art Network.