Last year Stonington Gallery presented our debut exhibition by ambitious young Inupiaq/Yup’ik artist Drew Michael. The exhibit was a runaway success, with collectors and institutions acquiring works from all over the country. Now, it is with great pride that we welcome Michael back for a second solo exhibition, as he continues to evolve his deeply personal mask-forms based on his own life and on the culture and mythologies of the Yup’ik and Inupiaq peoples.
Drew is making artwork that draws on his heritage, his queer identity, his interests in chakra and indigenous healing, and his religious upbringing. These stunning sculptures can be seen as stand-ins for his emotions, and their solidity, serenity and spirituality are evidence of a young man yearning for a place, for security, and for love.
Two major themes run through the 2017 exhibition: works that look inward, and works that look outward. The inward pieces were largely created in 2016, and deal with the artist’s continuing exploration of his emotional states, self-portraiture, his relationships, and with healing and growing.
The outward-looking works are more recent, sculpted over the last month and a half, as a direct reaction to the new sociopolitical landscape. At this moment, Drew finds himself retreating to his studio in search of things that are beautiful, elegant, light and hopeful, to combat the dread and fear he feels. Consequently, his forms are reaching new heights of elegance, femininity, and material complexity.
Drew has long been fascinated by the fashion and history of the early 20th century, with a focus on the 1912 Titanic disaster. In that disaster he sees a perfect crystallization of humanity’s towering arrogance and the consequences of following that arrogance to its bitter end. He finds a chilling resonance between the pre-war time of the 1910s and our own 2010s, and these figures–draped and adorned with a 1900s flavor–are both wards against that resonance, and an elegy for that lost era.
Exhibition Dates:March 2, 2017 - March 31, 2017
Drew MichaelThis Be Your Lucky StarBasswood, Copper Plate, Furniture Tacks, Copper Nails, Acrylic, Beads, Chain
Drew MichaelSpirit of MyselfBasswood, Wire, Beads, Acrylic, Oil Paints, Hemp Rope, Stain
Drew MichaelImpositions Into My SpiritBasswood, Acrylic, Porcupine Quills, Ivory, Stain
Drew MichaelGlacier Spirits: Snowy & SnoweBasswood, Ash, Turquoise, Chain, Ornaments, Acrylic
- 6.5 each"d
Drew MichaelFloating DreamBasswood, Reclaimed Redwood, Acrylic, Polarized Glass, Eurasian Falcon Feathers
Drew MichaelEmergenceBasswood, Acrylic, Feathers, Hardware, Nails, Stain
Drew MichaelHeart-Space of the Northern LandBasswood, Acrylic, Stain, Charring