I have always been interested in systems, math, and technology, which have never felt
completely separate from my artmaking. My paintings represent different states of order using both methodical and intuitive systems. I am particularly concerned with how gridded systems can embody complex notions of time, space, and reason. I am finding ways to approach painting as a geometric or technological puzzle, while accentuating the materiality of the paint and the human qualities of its application. The systems I create serve both as an analog for computers and as a reminder of the virtues of a non-digital shared experience.
Computers have become ubiquitous; yet, as we grow more dependent on them, we are also collectively oppressed by a culture overdetermined by digital technology. In an effort to reclaim the space that computers have come to occupy, I make paintings that are as complex as a mechanically or digitally rendered image, but in a different way. These paintings are slow to make and do not allow for instant gratification. They require a level of patience I rarely exercise elsewhere in the age of smartphones, Instagram filters, and unlimited access to digital imagery.
While considering the art historical context of mosaics, textiles, and modernism, I am also interested in the way grids relate to pixels, with which computer technology assigns a system to a picture. Through counting, cropping, recoloring, pixels make images quantifiable. My paintings reference this idea, while the materiality of the watercolor on the paper prohibits them from being read as digital images. They do not feel machine-made because of the attention paid to the surface and the nuances within the mark making.
As I continue with this series of paintings, I hope to further my research regarding how we relate to digital imagery versus how we relate to paintings. I will continue to explore the merits of systems while highlighting the nature of non-digital materials.
Michaela Flatley is an abstract painter living and working in Boston. She studied Visual Art and Art History at Fordham University in New York City, and then later received her
Master of Fine Arts from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute
College of Art (MICA).
Flatley has exhibited her work in both group and solo exhibitions, including shows in Boston, New York City, Baltimore, and Florence, Italy. Notable recent shows include the inaugural exhibition at His Daughter Paloma gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts and the Flat File Exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Baltimore. Her work is also included in private collections throughout the United States.
Flatley is currently represented by His Daughter Paloma gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts. In addition to her painting, Flatley also owns a graphic design business, Barley Creative.