Charcoal Lung, No 6
Wall Drawing 'Riven'
Chalk, charcoal, gesso on wall
14 feet by 19 feet
installed at Marshall University, Huntington, WV
'Piney Drawing', 2014
Michael K. Paxton is a sixth generation West Virginian and Chicago based artist with over thirty-five years of dedicated work. 2013 highlights include being awarded a fellowship by the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming, an Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grant, his second Faculty Development Grant in two years from Columbia College, Chicago and a Marshall University Alumni Award of Distinction presented by the Alumni Association in concert with the College of Fine Arts in Huntington, WV. In 2012 he completed an artist-in-residence with Air le Parc, Project and Research Center, Pampelonne, France, he was a Visiting Artist with the School of Art and Design of Marshall University in Huntington, WV where he created a huge gallery size wall drawing installation “Riven” and was included in the group exhibitions “New Country” at the Claypool-Young Art Gallery of Morehead State University, KY and Rights, Radicals and Revolutions at Columbia College, Chicago, where he was also was featured with a Faculty Profile Spotlight on the college’s main web site. Michael was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award in Visual Arts for 2009, had a one-person show “Alpestrine” at Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, as well as an installation of wall drawings for the show “blank place” at the A+D Gallery of Columbia College, he had a wall-size drawing installed into the Kirkland and Ellis collection in San Francisco and was selected by the Mid Atlantic Foundation & Delaware Division of the Arts to be the sole juror for the Individual Artist Fellowships: Works on Paper. Other career highlights include selection for an Open Studio Residence by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, receiving major grants from the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation, NY, Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago, as well as being published in New American Paintings, Linework and “Art and Soul” which celebrates fifty of the most noted West Virginians in the arts. Paxton’s one-person exhibition titled “From Enoch to Strange Creek” was presented by the Chicago Cultural Center; Muskegon Museum of Art, Miami University Museum of Art, Laura Mesaros Gallery, West Virginia University, and the Stifel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling. Michael is an adjunct faculty member Art + Design Department, Columbia College, Chicago since 2005 and has BA in Art from Marshall University, 1975 and an MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Georgia, 1979.
Michael K. Paxton
5213 South Albany Avenue
Chicago, IL 60632
312 560 7190
Artist Statement for On Big Drawing
Throughout my career as a professional artist the nature of my work has required me to embrace many avenues of expression through drawing, painting, installation, performance, video and writing in the quest to better understand the structure of perception? Guided by honesty and authenticity my work has often placed me at the crossroads of career expectations and restlessness in search of discovery.
My current large-scale work investigates concepts of location, of distance, of the present. By pushing, scrubbing, building, searching for a surface with a mark, that leads to the next mark, I look for a space, a place, not just a thing. By a fluid process that accepts and rewards accidents caused by following my intent, the exaggerated expanse of these drawing installations impacts the sense of space and alters as the viewer physically moves within it.
Much of my work is also informed by my experience as a teacher of drawing with Columbia College the past ten years. I have learned from my students that preconceived notions of what is acceptable stunts growth, that thinking is anti-drawing and that losing control is the only way to really find it.
As a mature mid-career artist I find that my work never becomes any easier, however at its foundation there is a joy of being trapped in a world of my own making, solitary, secluded, and free. A freedom earned from years of scars, fear, survival and stubbornness. Always following, the work leads me.