Display Cases in the Great Hall: Exhibition Archive

Michael Kirk

August 8th - October 6th, 2014

NORWAY: Small works on Paper

Michael Kirk

Michael Kirk's intimate pastels and watercolors were made on trips he took to Norway. Tender reflections of majestic landscapes, made on site as he traveled through Norway's fjords and mountains, many of the small works later inspired larger paintings and drawings when he returned to his studio. They convey his immediate responses to Norwegian landscape. His own words describe his impressions:

Lofoten, an archipelago within the Artic Circle, mountainous islands reach out into the Norwegian Sea. In late May the “midnight sun” floats along the horizon. Dusk becomes dawn; one day runs into the next. I was working with pastels using my fingers to grind pigment into pigment. This physical act extends my being directly into the paper. The work is not driven by conscious thought, rather by a series of sensations and the rhythm of my hands responding to the moment.

Jøtunheimen then further north and west along the fjords: Small works are sometimes done while traveling in a car. The work threads the shifting landscape till everything suddenly merges. It’s a transformative state, a chrysalis. Whether traveling or working in situ, there is always movement in the terrain and in the play of light, form and shadow. The fragility of the materials of paper, pastel, watercolor, make visible the internal conversation between perception and expression.

Oslofjord: There was a visual rage before me and I was consumed by what I was seeing and my whole being was wrapped inside of it. As I sat working it no longer mattered how the patterns changed, though they kept shifting I knew what I wanted to hold on to. What I saw moments before was no longer and that seemed to parallel my own sense of vulnerability, how something could be there and then in an instant be gone. 

Case One and Case Two
Small works in pastels and watercolors on paper, dating from 1991, 1999, 2013, 2014; dimensions variable. Download checklist here Open PDF in new window

All works courtesy of the Artist
Curated by Lisa A. Banner