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At the Peoria Riverfront Museum this fall, as part of a regional group exhibition, I will be showing two new pieces (see images below): Portals of the Past II, and Sky of the Mind (Skies over Houses). 

Portals of the Past II is the sequel of the large collage piece I made during residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts, which was based on an old black and white photograph of my father at an unknown vista point during a road trip. The photo was taken in the summer of 1972, presumably just before or after my parents marriage ceremony (a honeymoon trip most likely). The twin of that photo recently turned up in the form of a color slide (developers stamp dated August of 1972) that shows my mother standing at the same vista point looking out towards the horizon. I thought it fitting to make a collage based on the color slide to go with the collage based on the first photo.

The Sky of the Mind Series takes the quilt imagery from the sky in Portals of the Past and pairs it with various "family shapes", in this case the outline of a house belonging to an unnamed relative. The slide that shows the house was mixed in with other slides from a 1950's era family trip, but unfortunately was not labelled. The fact that it is unknown seemed appropriate considering the themes I've been exploring beginning with the ALZ Set.

 

 

Sky of the Mind 2 (Skies over Houses)

Collage of various printed material (monotype, intaglio, relief, lithography) and mixed media on paper. 24" by 36"

2017 

 

 

Portals of the Past II 

Collage of various printed material (monotype, intaglio, relief, lithography) and mixed media on paper. 24" by 36"

2017

 

 

Sky of the Mind 1

Collage of various printed materials (intaglio, monotype, lithography, relief) and mixed media on paper. 24" by 48"

2017

 


Portals of the Past

Collage of various printed materials (intaglio, monotype, lithography,

pigmented inkjet, relief) and mixed media on paper. 36" by 44"

2016 (Prairie Center of the Arts Residency)

 

 

​The ALZ Set

​This portfolio of 10 intaglio prints and related video and collage work were the culmination of my 2016-2017 six-month residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts, in Peoria, IL.

       

​Artist Statement

​    When my mother, Barbara, was diagnosed with an early-onset form of Alzheimer's Disease, I began learning about the disease to prepare myself and my family to live with her and help her hold on to her independence as long as possible. Alzheimer's, a terminal progressive disease, causes a series of losses, all the way until the end. The daily struggle with dementia is not only about impaired memory: emotional control, feelings of usefulness, initiative, word-finding are also slowly lost. One's visual field becomes more narrowed, and language comprehension is greatly reduced. Wandering, pacing, and repetitive actions are also common behaviors. However, music and rhythm are among the last things to fade and are often a great source of joy in an otherwise difficult situation.

​     In creating this work, my goal has been to find ways to encode these traits of the illness into my music and visuals, to translate them, in a way, into new languages, and to create work that can speak to those who deal with many different kinds of loss. I began with the dual purpose of memorializing my own experience, as well as giving voice to the things my mother could no longer express as her abilities to name and describe her own thoughts diminished. The songs came first, with lyrics inspired by my experience as caregiver, my conversations with other caregivers, and my best attempt at seeing things the way a dementia patient would see them.

     The metaphors and tropes within the lyrics of the songs, especially the image of the old house and the tree, served as points of departure to begin the printmaking and video/animation works. The intaglio printmaking process also lent itself beautifully to the theme of dementia: the acid eats away at the copper plate, the work must be done in stages with the end result never immediately visible, the images are mirrored/ reversed from plate to print, and the process itself offers resistance to the artist's efforts. The video imagery continued from the prints, containing other details or references to the theme of loss. Hand-drawn and stop motion animation techniques, with their built-in repetition and subtle changes, gave me another variation on my themes. I have found that the emotional complexity of dealing with dementia demanded comparable complexity through its portrayal.

 

 

 

 

 

CV/ Resume

 

Michael Gilbert 

Born 1979 in Alexandria, VA.

red_brains@hotmail.com

www.redbrains.jigsy.com

415-203-4579

 

Education:

2001- BFA Studio Art/ Painting, Bradley University, Peoria, IL.

2002- Post Baccalaureate Certificate Painting, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.

2011- MFA Printmaking, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.

 

Awards

1999- Art Talent Scholarship, Bradley University, Peoria IL.

2000- Award of Recognition, Amity Art Foundation, Inc., Woodbridge, CT.

2011- Bronze Roller Award (Outstanding Graduate Printmaker), San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.

 

Exhibitions: 

1997- Mentor Artist Program Group Show, Peoria Art Guild, Peoria, IL.

1999- "Four Artists" Group Show, Phoenix Studios, Peoria Heights, IL. 

2001- "Just What They Are", BFA Exhibition, The Murray Building, Peoria, IL.

2001- "2001: A Compilation" Group Show, Bradley University, Peoria, IL.

2001- "Artists' Books" Group Show, Anne Bremer Memorial Library, San Francisco Art Institute, CA.

2002- "Crossing Bridges" Group Show, CBS Marketwatch, San Francisco, CA.

2005- "The Visual Conversation: Collaborative Works by Michael Gilbert and Shih Yun Yeo." INSTINC, Singapore.

2010- "Kristen Perkins, Brooke Westfall, Michael Gilbert", Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, CA.

2010- "Printmaking/ Think: Bay Area Artists in the China Art Scene Phase 1", Group Show, Loft 345, Guangzhou, China.

2010- "Unruly Subjects" Group Show, Swell Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, CA.

2010- "Collaborative Appropriation", Group Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, CA.

2011- "Vernissage: SFAI MFA Graduate Exhibition", The Winery, Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA.

2012- "Left to Chance: In Search of the Accidental Book", Group Show, The San Francisco Center for the Book, CA.

2017- "Artist in Residence Exhibition- The ALZ Set", Solo Show at the Prairie Center of the Arts, Peoria, IL. Culminating show for a 6-month printmaking residency.

2017- Regional Alumni Invitational Exhibition, Group Show at the Prairie Center of the Arts, Peoria, IL.

 

 

 

Collections:

Bradley University Print Archive, Peoria IL.

Permanent Collection Amity Art Foundation, Inc., Woodbridge, CT.

Private Collections in San Francisco CA, Chicago IL, Bloomington IL, Peoria IL, Tokyo Japan, and Singapore.

The Prairie Center of the Arts, Peoria, IL.