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Figurative Artwork Explores Tension Between Hope, Despair

Gallery exhibit features works by Michael Reedy that are “both realistic, and not realistic at all.”

Memento mori is Latin for “Remember that you will die.” This is the theme for the body of contemporary figurative artwork by Michael Reedy now on display in the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery at Alma College.

The show runs from Monday, Feb. 11 through Thursday, March 14. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public.

A closing reception with the artist takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 14.

Reedy, a member of the Eastern Michigan University art faculty, enjoys creating art that incorporates figure drawing, medical and dermatological imaging, doodles and cartoons. His work utilizes a range of materials from pencil and charcoal to glitter, googly eyes and glow-in-the-dark paint. Residing on the spectrum of contemporary figurative work, “my work is both realistic, and not realistic at all,” says Reedy.

“I hope to transport viewers to another place that is seriously trying to not take itself too seriously,” says Reedy. “This point of tension between hope and despair, humor and pain, and living and dying is infinitely interesting to me — and represents my mindset every time I look in the mirror and see another grey hair.

“My work builds off itself, and a single drawing can only scrape the surface,” says Reedy. “It takes revisiting these ideas to understand what I ever feel in the first place. Each time I think that I have it figured out, my feelings seem to evolve. So, I make another drawing.”

Reedy’s work has been included in more than 150 exhibitions nationally and internationally. Many of his works also can be viewed in private and institutional collections such as Clatsop Community College, Minot State University and the Hoffman Trust National Collection. His works are included in an upcoming publication of The Moleskin Project, Create Magazine and the Manifest Gallery’s 12th International Drawing Annual.

Story published on February 13, 2019