Howie Michels’ “EPIC”
A solo exhibition presented by A Hug From The Art World
EXHIBITION ON VIEW
September 15 – October 29
A HUG FROM THE ART WORLD
515 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
On September 15th, A Hug From The Art World launched an exhibition entitled “EPIC” featuring Howie Michels’ work. What started as a friend’s recommendation progressed to a curatorial visit to Michels’ vibrant barn/cabin studio in Olive Bridge, New York. Here, dozens and dozens of paintings fill the space and cover the walls like patchworked wall art in a saloon. His extensive oeuvre spans from his early work in the 1950s through his recent work, evolving into an impressive scale and impact over the years.
The result is a vibrant show transporting the viewer to a world where anything is possible. The exhibit–pared down to a few of Michels’ pieces displayed in a charming, creaky-floored, furnished space–allows each work to breathe so that it can exude unique, untampered magic. Every viewer, it seems, sees something different in each piece. Some interpret religious symbols, others swear they see political imagery, and some claim that neither is present. The unique characters, dreamlike symbolism, and personified animals are arranged into a cluttered, unique, hallucinogenic whole each time.
With virtually no Google presence, Michels’ career has been unconventional. He graduated from Pratt Institute, where he kept company with famous punk rock singer Patti Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. In Patti’s National Book Award-winning novel Just Kids, she describes Michels as “articulate, passionate, well read, and politically active,” adding that his artistic process is “physical and abstract.” After obtaining his college degree, Michels worked as a clinical director for a schizophrenic children’s home and then became a school art teacher, illustrating five published books of poems and painting prolifically in the meantime.