Metaphorical portraits deconstruct art history as collaged specimens
Metaphorical portraits by Michael Mapes deconstruct art history as collaged specimens
Photographs, scraps of fabric, human hair, dried flowers, and gelatine capsules are a few of the materials that artist Michael Mapes arranges into fragmented portraits and still life’s.
Referencing traditions and prominent works in art history, Mapes interprets figures and fruits through deconstructed compositions. Set in specimen boxes evocative of those used in entomological studies, the collagesutilize the metaphor of scientific study to dismantle and reconstruct the contexts and meanings of the original works.
Mapes begins each piece with research around the subject matter and materials, and many of the artist’s most recent works centre on muses, like fashion designer Emile Louise Flöge who was the lifelong companion of Gustav Klimt. “I’ve been making studies, smaller scale works that allow me to consider compositional approaches for larger pieces,” he says about the series. “It connects the past to the present in a very personal way.
A muse vibe is inspired by mining art history to find subjects that resonate with me and my work process.”
Grace Ebert for ThisisColossal.com. August 2022