Ian Micheal (b. 1985 in Detroit, Michigan; lives and works in Oakland, CA) creates paintings that weave forms of human intimacy through his representation of comradery between androgynous figures. Highlighting nodes of deep affection, while allowing room for interpretation of gender and kinship, Micheal offers his viewers a personal connection to the work. Leaving figures and spaces they occupy simple and at times unfinished, the large-scale oil paintings celebrate often marginalized individuals by emphasizing their vibrancy.
Micheal emphasizes, “I explore my figure’s relationship towards each other, objects and the spaces they occupy and exist in. I like to produce images that tell a story or a memory... a place in time.” His artistic language renders a certain sense of visual normalcy, the figures feel unapologetic and natural.
His pastel palette alludes to gender color norms, and compliments the skin tone of his figures, the warmth of color in his works blur the line of platonic relationships and sexual explorations and introduce conceptual elements that challenge apprehensions over positive and negative space.
Forthcoming solo exhibition at Mariane Ibrahim Paris, Spring 2023.