“Understory”: Maggie Michael Summer Exhibition

Maggie Michael
Headline image for “Understory”: Maggie Michael Summer Exhibition

Maggie Michael’s summer exhibition, “Understory,” features recent and unseen paintings. From Milwaukee, WI, and a resident of Washington, DC, since 2000, Michael is a nationally recognized, award-winning painter and longtime member of Union Market District’s creative community. The 3,000-square-foot exhibition space, showcases a selection of Michael’s recent works, some of which were conceived and/or completed during a 6-week residency this year at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Additional programming for the space will include artist talks and events that thoughtfully incorporate other people and partners in the Union Market neighborhood.

Maggie Michael on her work: “Painting untethers a mesh of past, present and future. Intuitive and intentional, the motion and emotion of making is moving towards the stillness of viewing; wavering in the density and airiness of our coming and going. Abstraction—a siren for expansive thinking—offers generous clarity and strangeness; also, brutal, exquisite, and base forms of beauty.”

Michael has been exhibiting her work professionally since 2000 and has been shown and collected by galleries and institutions worldwide including Art in Embassies, US Department of State, Bucharest, Romania, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Phillips Collection and American University Museum, among other institutions.

In Michael’s show “One on One: Depth of Field” at The Phillips Collection in 2019, she paired paintings in conversation with works of American artist, Arthur Dove (1880 – 1946). Since that time, she has been in her DC studio and in various residencies producing new series of work in this summer exhibition.

In an excerpt from the exhibition catalogue for “Maggie Michael: A Phrase Hung in Midair As If Frozen” at American University Museum, curator Sarah Newman says, “Her paintings—at once intuitive and conceptual—are a direct response to the world around it. Michael’s work serves as a platform for exploring physicality, the workings of language, literature, and the vagaries of emotion and information…Within individual works she achieves an exquisite tension between those states, but the arc of her career more generally can be seen as a back-and-forth between them.”

Smithsonian Magazine said in 2007, “Michael’s abstract paintings offer color combinations that clash as well as complement in a variegated apocalypse. Like sculptural skin, the latex paint favored by the artist bunches, folds, tears and bubbles as if it has a mind—or body—of its own.”

Gallery Details:
Open June 6 – July 31
Exhibition: “Understory”
Address: 1256 4th Street NE

Image Caption:
Maggie Michael
Antelope Falls, Nude Descending, 2024
182.9 cm x 121.9 cm
Ink, walnut ink, acrylic, spray paint, oil on canvas