Michael Roberts - Iowa City, Iowa
Earlier in his career, Michael Roberts created highly realistic portrait cut-outs on wood. His subjects included well-known political or historical figures as well as ordinary citizens. The cut-outs appeared three dimensional instead of flat, with facial features augmented by intense lighting at close range.
More recently, Roberts has concentrated on smaller, conventionally framed paintings that are allegorical. Layering acrylics on wood in an old-master style of painting, the surfaces are altered through scratching and incising. He is also working on series of drawings incorporating handcut stamps, and sketchbooks.
Showing the influence of medieval paintings on wood, these works might be mistaken for darkened heirloom oil paintings. On second glance, one sees lying on the ground, a depiction of a recent Time Magazine's Man of the Year edition featuring Newt Gingerich. The partial view of a car tire comes close -- or is it over? -- the magazine. Roberts appears in this painting, as he does in many of the others, this time coming out of a cloud, clutching two figurines. Words in Latin or other "dead languages," as Roberts puts it, are intentionally used. Small elements are noticed in later viewings. You, the viewer, are left to decipher the symbols, the mysteries. Some seem more obvious, others enigmatic.
As Michael explains, "defacing a painting is a deliberate act of artificially aging the painting. It is also a way for me, the artist, to see possibly what my paintings would look like, if they survived, in years way past my lifetime. I want my paintings to be able to do the speaking for me years from now."
Like his wife Connie, a fellow artist who works in wood, Roberts has a loyal following of collectors. Due to the political content of much of his work, his paintings and portraits have found their way to the Washington D.C. area. A resident of Iowa City, Iowa, Roberts is a native of California. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa in 1975 and has participated in numerous exhibitions nationwide.
For more information on Michael Roberts' work, please email or call us at the Gallery, 1-877-439-6554.