The Real Ethereal World - solo exhibition by Sara Baker Michalak
My current works reflect a view of the natural world's beauty and its ephemerality: the tangible that clearly defines nature's forms, and the fluid forces that animate it. While I most often begin with recognizable imagery that references land/water/atmosphere, elements of abstraction develop as I progress. I intend to find and refine form that expresses what rings true in human experience too: the firm and the unfirm; light and dark; the ordered and the random; beginnings and endings; cosmos and chaos. The observed and measured natural world gains depth and nuance as we more deeply understand it. The more we understand, the more we witness its mystery and miracle, too. It may be that the whole world comes into view only as we embrace all that we know of it along with all that we feel in it: the real ethereal world.
I create with imagery that I photograph, paint and draw on substrates of varying translucency, incorporating found papers and ephemera. These become preliminary collages that I revise with cutting and re-collaging, for components in larger pieces. The final works are developed on canvas or panel that I’ve textured with paint or acrylic gel. As depth in material and texture is developed, I remove selected areas (by sanding, scratching, rubbing, washing), exposing aspects of earlier layers and substrate textures. The resulting works suggest the material reality I’m after.
Sara Baker Michalak has a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of American Crafts and MA, Interdisciplinary Studies (Humanities/Geoscience) from SUNY Fredonia, NY. She has exhibited her mixed media artworks widely, including at the American Craft Museum in New York; the Burchfield Penny and Albright Knox galleries in Buffalo; International Small Art Show in Atlanta, Georgia; and Cleveland Museum of Art. Baker Michalak works in her studio on the banks of the Canadaway Creek, a Lake Erie tributary in western New York.