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Date of Creation
Through thought we can explore the meanings in life and the My prints focus on the suffering and escapism through the absurd hero’s journey, taking the thoughts and feelings of existential introspection and giving it physical form though screen print. They focus on snapshots of a life lived without pre-derived meaning in search of purpose through a narrative set that paints a life of filled with opulence and escapism from a dark and uncaring world. I look at the flawed nature of faith and how one deals with a world once witnessed to the absurde, how we as humans escape those feelings, and the feelings of outsiderism and loneliness felt in such a world.
Formally, my pieces use a balancing act of bright and pastel colours in contrast with harsh and intense reds, browns, and blacks to push a scene from something grounded and real, into something more surreal and fantastic. I use appropriated images from Victorian etchings and Renaissance iconography intermingled with hand drawn imagery to show the journey of a man's life surrounded by reminders of his meaningless and insignificance in the nihilist’s reality. All the while, my absurde hero marches on filling his life with anything that can fill the void. I use the breakdown of religious imagery in direct contrast to the horrors of war or broken landscapes as the breakdown of faith and the derived meaning in life that accompanies it. I place such images in the background as a reminder of how such feelings, even when covered and subverted, are always in the back of the mind, always dragging at the soul with a reminder of one’s place in the eyes of an uncaring universe filled with pain and death under the guise of a moral cause.
I pull formal inspiration from artists like Matt Hopson-Walker, balancing heavy subject matter with bright and popping colours. Carrie Lingscheit has also influences my work formally with how she plays with heavily stylized and naturalized forms juxtaposed together. Conceptually my pieces pull mostly from philosophical literature in the form of writers like Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche, as I explore the same vein of thought but instead use images rather than words to convey such introspection.
With a life without meaning, we are left to find and make such meaning ourselves. I use the arts to explore that existential journey and to give physical form to such introspective moments through a nihilistic lense. I use art to tell a story of another trying desperately to find purpose, all the while dealing with the anger that comes with the question of evil, the substances that give momentary reprieve from unending feelings of dread and loneliness, and an escape into the social world in hopes of drowning out the voice of pain through endless social contact.
A digital portpholo of my works as I have worked through the BFA program.
nalley, michael, "19_Nalley, Michael_Portfolio" (2019). Professional Practices (ART 399). 59.