Michelle Friars: Bearing Witness

July 24th – August 8th

White background work is drawn in strips with carbon pencil and pan pastel on archival Stonehedge paper. Black background work is drawn with white charcoal on archival Fabriano paper. Strips are individually mounted on mat board and framed.

In the days after my father’s death last summer, grieving and exhausted, I retreated to the studio, knowing I needed to work but having no clear idea about what to work on. Drawings, abandoned months earlier when his need for care increased, no longer had any appeal. I began idly to sketch on scraps of paper and odd little forms quickly emerged. My work is generally large and figurative, so the origin of these small organic shapes felt hazy and vague. They had a mystery and melancholy that resonated and at the same time, they appeared steadfast in their little groups. For several months, new figures were present in my waking thoughts and my daily task was to realize them on paper. They came to feel like companions in grief with a silent, unarticulated narrative, bearing witness and validating the sadness. The inspiration ended as suddenly as it began. They had served their purpose and the series was complete.

Michelle is an Award Winning artist and photographer and Graduate Kang-O’Higgins Atelier at Gage Academy 2015 MA Art History Columbia University 1991

Her works have been exhibited in local and national museums, galleries and venues to include among others Tacoma Art Museum; Brand Library and Art Center, Los Angeles; Site: Brooklyn, Brooklyn NY; CoCA, Seattle; Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR; Valise Gallery, Vashon, WA. and
selected for publication in International Photography Annual 2018 Photography Book