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Michael Roqué Collins
"Coastal Gardens"

Michael Roqué Collins, "My Caladiums", 2022-23, watercolor on Amalfi Amatruda cold pressed acid free paper, 6 7/8" x 4 1/2"

East Gallery
December 2 - December 30, 2023

Opening Reception:

Saturday, December 2, 6pm-9pm


Through large works of oil on linen, mixed media on photographs and initially watercolors and Ink drawings, I investigate lush surfaces, which combine multiple symbolic elements through which I investigate themes such as the symbiotic, romantic relationship of darkness and light, the cyclical nature of life and death, the complexities of inner psychological life, and the mysteries and vital importance of individual spirituality. These themes find creative expression through a rich system of synergistically connected metaphoric subjects: primitive ritual forms, the figure, modern day power plants, classical architectural forms, petrochemical refineries, coastal subjects, dreams and above all gardens.


In my recent series the garden spaces contain sentient verdant vegetation, which erupts with life amidst abandoned factories, decaying ancient roman buildings and other such vestiges of a collapsed human presence. In my paintings nature becomes a punitive element.  The architecture is being eviscerated by nature. The buildings are metaphors for our naiveté in believing that nature may be controlled and is somehow independent to what humankind inflicts on the planet. I have been influenced since childhood by my native coastal surroundings, characterized by subtropical vegetation and sweltering, humid atmosphere and symbolic references to water. I imbue these and other elements drawn from my personal experience into a mystical artistic vision articulating the human condition, which I feel possesses a certain terrible beauty.


Most fundamentally, my painting relates to the tenants of Post Symbolism, where each painting is an ethereal membrane suggesting the poetic as experienced through dreams, memory, mystery, morphic resonance. They generate an aura of evanescence conveying essential ambiguities. The resulting opposing thematic elements are centered in supernatural realms where enlightenment and darkness, the mythic and quotidian, by the balancing of abstraction and representation, are revealed in visions of the cyclic patterns of destruction and creation present in nature. The discovered subjects in each painting reveal an art balancing the creative notions of art about art and art about life and the human condition.

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