Michael Weiss is a Baltimore based-artist who uses traditional painting materials and methods to create contemporary images containing oblique, but not opaque content. After working as a faculty member in the Foundation, Painting, and Drawing Departments at the Maryland Institute College of Art for ten years, he is currently serving as the Associate Dean of Fine Arts.
All art-making is a process of abstraction and distillation.
The choice to delve thoroughly into the visual language of abstraction is one of conscious certainty. The nature of non-objective imagery is to be oblique in content and to begin with questions, whereas the use of symbolic/pictorial imagery delivers an implied didacticism.
Though this latter sort of work may, in fact be open-ended in meaning, it begins with a narrative code that conveys particulars of information in a more explicit fashion. This specificity is what precipitates the inherent presence of didacticism and its related tendency toward the creation of work that begins with a statement. Hence, it also implies a structural power relationship that posits the artist as teacher or enlightener and the viewer as the recipient of the wisdom of the creator. The use of an abstract pictorial language is a formal construct that in some ways attempts to negate this uneven relationship by placing the artist and viewer side by side and the art-object into the role of other.
My current work explores the manner in which intellectual constructs constantly shift as they contact the eddies and whirls of the stream of consciousness. The edges of this interaction, where so-called "gray areas"? arise, hold a fascination for me. It is in this unmapped territory that definitions break down and the dynamics of abstract and intuitive thought begin. Forms move in and out of focus as ideas circulate through the mind.
The act of painting is a physical counterpart of this process of exploration and discovery. The organic nature of my work develops through a manipulation of paint and surface to reveal an image, offering information of a potential, rather than specific meaning with which viewers may engage in dialogue.