Cage – 2013 – 30’x45′ – Oil on Canvas

This is a painting based off of a black and white photo of Michel Foucault in his study. I don’t think that this information has to be known for the image to stand alone or function. I feel as though this image captures the tightrope walk between reason and unreason. As the title suggests, I was interested in this space as a space of confinement. The openings, entrances, and capabilities of expansion are all perhaps contained in the books, many of which are open in front of him. I was interested in painting the books as brushstrokes, the ability to make a mark and move on, choosing color carefully. The bookshelves being crooked, or not level to the canvas, was an attempt to convey a sort of anti-gravity, or slightly abstracted presence. The image felt very internal to me, as though it could be a cavity within the body. Because the space became a space of confinement with openings and possibilities of expansion, and because the image also had an internal quality, the image fits with the concept of the burrow. “Cage” being associated with animal perhaps works well in this way too.

About Michael Johnson


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