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(b. 1984) Dallas, TX
As a student at Santa Clara University in California, Michael Van fell in love with the paintings of the Bay Area Figurative Movement, a revitalization of figurative painting that sprung up around San Francisco in the mid-twentieth century. Epitomized in the works of Wayne Thiebaud, David Park, and Richard Diebenkorn, the movement is marked by decisive brushstrokes, synthetic colors, and geometric treatment of light and shadow.
Now Michael brings these sensibilities to life in his own paintings while building a signature repertoire of planar forms and saturated colors that capture the beauty in the everyday. His practice is grounded in the simple habit of concentrated looking (and squinting) to appreciate the fundamental relationships between light, shadows, and forms around him, which he then translates into confident, tactile compositions. Refreshingly straightforward and mindful, the Texas-based painter finds satisfaction in simplicity, and his nostalgic paintings invite viewers to do the same.