Photo by Daniel Shapiro 

Artist Statement: Falling Under

My paintings are raw portrayals of the human condition: the desire to feel beautiful and important, the plague of self-doubt, the burden of mortality and the fear of loss. My work explores the root of these desires and doubts and examines the underlying levers of identity, particularly those that are controlled by the subconscious and ignited while dreaming.

Vivid dreams pervade my reality; the line between them is thin and fluid, often leaving me in a state of bewilderment and emotional limbo. On a quest to find clarity in this dream-induced reality, I use paint and canvas to visually map out the subconscious. The subjects of my paintings become a mirror; by learning about their dreams, fears and desires I am better able to dissect and understand my own.

Photography and digital manipulation play a key role in my compositional method. During an interview, my subjects share the storyline and impact of a life-altering dream and then I immediately take photographs as they meditate on these themes. While listening to the recorded interview, I digitally collage and restructure the portraits in Photoshop and use this composition as my painting reference. I explore movement and texture within figurative painting by mixing technical realism and broad, painterly strokes. The repetition of broken, displaced shapes mimics the chaos and confusion of a dream and the vulnerable gaze of my subjects represents a confrontation with the unknown.

Michelle Silver is an oil painter and graphic designer currently working and living in Brooklyn, New York.

For all graphic design inquiries, please visit Michelle Silver Design Studio