Fine Art Gallery to Host Maggie Michael’s ‘Tattoos of Ships’

Posted: January 7, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Mason’s School of Art brings Maggie Michael’s exhibition, “Tattoos of Ships,” to the Fine Art Gallery on the Fairfax Campus from Saturday, Jan. 16, through Saturday, Feb. 13.

An opening reception will be held in the gallery, which is located on the ground floor of the Art and Design Building, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Hailed by The Washington Post as “one of the best artists in town,” Michael is a young abstract artist whose works extend painting into the third dimension and are frequently referred to as “sculptural painting.”

In her latest exhibition, Michael expands the role of the canvas with drawings and paintings embedded or “tattooed” into gallery walls, connected to each other as if each element in the work is part of a single massive mural.

Paul Chaat Smith of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian described the pieces as “muralesque installation.” He said, “Murals tell stories and invite conversation. They are an institutional format, often funded by governments, and thus perfect for Washington.”

Michael recently has incorporated text, film, books, songs and other media into her work. The name “Tattoos of Ships” is a found phrase from a song, meant to signal a conceptual desire for journey as well as the trip home.

A recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant and a Young Artist Grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Michael received a BFA from the University of Wisconsin, an MA from San Francisco State University and an MFA from American University.

She was a resident artist in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Artist at Work Program in 2006-07. In 2008, Michael was awarded an Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian and received the Trawick Prize from the Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards.

Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn, G Fine Art and the Arlington Arts Center in the Washington, D.C., area; and at galleries and museums in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities throughout the United States.

Michael’s most recent exhibit at G Fine Art was discussed on the Painterly Visions blog.

Write to gazette at