The Artist

Michael McCall, a mid-career artist working for over 35 years in Los Angeles, works in several mediums. Although schooled as a painter, his artwork extends beyond painterly boundaries into areas of sculpture, photography, performance, and conceptual art.

A trend throughout four decades of his art-making centers around an acute interest in what he calls “the development of communication from gesture to icon”.

McCall’s work has been described as a hybrid of abstraction and imagery, sometimes referred to as “Imagist.” Elements throughout the work: color, shape and form, connect him to the abstract modernists of the twentieth century, but his use of graphic symbolism walks a line between abstraction and realism. The symbols appear as abstract metaphors of a personal journey of research and self-discovery, interlaced in fields of geometrics and color. His directions oppose the Postmodernists certainty of objective and scientific efforts to explain reality, instead relying upon personal experience with his blend of abstraction and metaphysics to present a subjective outlook of the world. Additionally, he exhibits a sense of humor, most notable in the titles of the pieces. In much of the work from the past two decades he uses elements from Chinese philosophy and mysticism that show a focus on and inner search, an enlightenment that tends to intrigue and amuse the viewer with his positive and harmonious outlook.

Notes on Painting

Painting is a private thing and it’s always intimate. It’s a pretty basic act to produce images, to communicate through the use of symbols, whether one chooses recognizable or abstract symbols.

All the best painters are romantics, and painting should be an act of desire. A good painting should have a real mystery behind it. There is a vast history and tradition in painting that needs to be known, but then worked against, torn apart, discarded, maybe even destroyed. Passion and desire can do this. One needs to delve into the unknown, into the inner source and find something inside that needs to get out. That’s what I mean about passion. It is a muse… and one needs to think deeply in an abstracted way to understand this.

Traditional ways of art making need to be challenged. Even the work you did yesterday needs to be challenged, because staying with the same ideas leads to stagnant work.

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