Michael Held
New Book WorkEncaustic / Mixed MediaMetal Work Prints / DrawingsIn Progress Work
. : Artist Statement : .

The internal structures and biological systems of the human body share similar qualities to my selection and use of materials. I am interested in materials that embody similar levels of control, as well as related physical aesthetics. In this work I am creating a parallel between the internal anatomy and similar imagery that exists externally.

Specifically, the layers of paper, metal and wax, as well as their texture and tone, refer to the layers of skin. The integrated framing and threading serve as the backbone, as they tie these series of works together. Also, the weight and detail of the line quality created through the use of hair and staining, refer to the complex internal systems of the human body.

I have developed an understanding of how wax, coffee, and photography processes will react with my hand, almost to a point of predictability. These predictions have become my foundation to create these works. I have a precise idea on how to begin manipulating these materials in order to create exactly what I desire, while retaining the ability to disguise my hand.

These works are collaborations with material, though I am capable of controlling them to an extent, they are at the will of the unpredictable. When the unpredictable occurs a new series begins. As the artist it is my aesthetic that discovers and determines the connections between the body and material. These connections are apparent through visually organic aesthetics and malleability, and it is the collaboration between these two that defines their similarities and makes them evident. Where my ability to manipulate the material ends it takes control and progresses independently. It is this relationship that I am interested in most; the materials capacity to advance beyond my ability of manipulation, and project their resemblance to the human anatomy.