Mike Solomon, a 'Son of Sarasota' and nationally recognized artist, unveils Mike Solomon: Sea Of Light, at Alfstad& Contemporary
. Opening April 2 and running April 3 - May 2, the exhibition surveys the development of Solomon's style from 2006 through 2015.
Mike Solomon: Sea of Light is a selection of Solomon's large-scale, wave-shaped fiberglass sculptures, paintings and new prints done in collaboration with Alfstad& that highlight his interest in linear gestures and sense of movement. "I want to encompass the viewer," says Solomon. "The whole point of working large is to create an 'environment' that the viewer can enter into, to make sculpture that can be viewed from within, like a wave seen from within the tube."
"The fiberglass sculpture and the new paintings in this show are seductive, deceptively simple-looking contraptions that seem to made of light even while they refer most obviously to water," wrote the late art critic, Robert Long, in a foreword to a previous Solomon exhibition. "The sculpture resembles a cresting wave but it is the light inside that collapsing wall of water that is the real subject."
Throughout his career, spent living near the water in Sarasota, East Hampton and Santa Barbara, Solomon has recorded his observations of the ocean, with its rhythmic tides and reflective surfaces. "Having been a surfer since childhood, I knew the infinite shapes that water and waves could make. It was a repertoire I built up subconsciously, almost without realizing it," he says.
"When viewing this show, it isn't the wave but the arching form that folds in on itself, the translucence of a curtain of water and the dynamic forces that give the wave its structure," says Solomon. He describes it as "a way of visualizing that energy." In art as in nature, Solomon looks at large complex structures and sees small building blocks that he translates into art. "Blisters and bubbles in the fiberglass suggest frozen sea foam. The sculpture works resemble a cresting wave but it is the light inside that collapsing wall of water that is the real subject."
"Mike's work, while beautiful, moves beyond the purely artistic," says Sam Alfstad. "He deals with many of the same structural issues as the architecture of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid."
'Because of the complex calculations required in mapping compound curves, Solomon's sculptural process - of hand stretching pliable nylon netting and then solidifying it with translucent fiberglass - represents an analog, more tactile, say artistic way, of getting to the same place," says Maziar Behrooz, architect. "Brilliant."
Artist Mike Solomon's work is conceptual and concrete, abstract and utterly real. Rooted in craft and materials - as much as in ideas - he aims at finding a balance between opposites. Not surprisingly, his sources range from nature to Eastern spirituality. His body of work is unusually diverse, encompassing a wide range of processes and materials. His projects include: installations, sculptures, paintings, assemblages and collages, watercolors, photographs, prints and videos. Since 2011 he has written a curatorial blog, "All The Work I've Ever Done," which surveys 40-years of his artistic production. His newest body of work is an exploration of an additive process in which the grounds of his paintings are transparent so that the artist must react to layers of color.
Son of Abstract Expressionist Syd Solomon (1917-2004), Mike Solomon was raised in the art world of the 1960s. He attended The College of Creative Studies at U.C.S.B. (BA '79), Skowhegan School of Art ('75), Yale Summer School of Art and Music ('78). He received his MFA from Hunter College in 1989. He was assistant to John Chamberlain (1927-2011) from 1980 - 84 and also worked with Alfonso Ossorio(1916-1990) in 1990.
Solomon shows regularly in New York, the Hamptons and Florida and has been written about by Kevin Dean, Mark Ormond, Paul Laster, Helen Harrison, Sarah Douglas, Meg Perlman, Janet Goleas and Robert Long, among others.
His work is in notable private collections including: Beth Rudin DeWoody, Richard Meier, the late Dan Flavin Jr., Pricilla Rattazzi Whittle, Cantor-Fitzgerald and artist Richard Prince. Public collections include the Parrish Museum of Art in Southampton, NY, Columbia Museum, Columbia, SC and The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL. He has twice been the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, in 2001 and in 2012.