Now let the water represent the world of sensible facts, and let the air above it represent the world of abstract ideas. Both worlds are real, of course, and interact; but they interact only at their boundary, and the locus of everything that lives, and happens to us, so far as full experience goes, is the water. We are like fishes swimming in the sea of sense, bounded above by the superior element, but unable to breathe it pure or penetrate it. We get our oxygen from it, however, we touch it incessantly, now in this part, now in that, and every time we touch it, we turn back into the water with our course re-determined and re-energized. -William James
CULT is pleased to present Gathering into Being, Los Angeles based artist Michelle Blade's first solo show with the gallery. The exhibition features new large and medium scale works on canvas paired with several works on paper.
In Gathering Into Being, Blade has shaped an ethereal world, charged with symbolism, where abstract and figurative forms suggest relationships between the material and the immaterial. Using layers of swirling inks and a palette of warm natural hues Blade explores painting as a compression of time and a tool for weaving mythologies. Leaving pockets of the canvas raw, Blade renders movement and space between the amorphous bulbous shapes, the curves of figure and portals into landscape. Blade compounds the past, present and future into mystical tapestries woven from iconographies of contact dancers, book covers, landscapes, abstract sculptures, calendars and ancient patterns. Inspired by mysticism, existentialism, occultism, and eschatology her work aims to visually synthesize various ways of understanding the world.
Michelle Blade's practice is cross-disciplinary in nature, encompassing painting, sculpture, installation and performance. In past bodies of work Blade has found inspiration in bygone eras of utopian promise and political social ideals. Here, pieces such as Women and Fiction, Hourglass and To Paint is to Love Again pay particular attention to the roles women played in the formation of modernist theory- particularly in relation to questions of identity and women’s work. These paintings, made while pregnant with her first child, each act as a metronome within the exhibition, representing the distance between unique and successive steps in her creative life and practice.
Blade has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at the Center for Contemporary Arts-Santa Fe, Carter and Citizen-Los Angeles, Jack Hanley-San Francisco and Western Exhibitions-Chicago. She is a 2007 recipient of the Murphy-Cadogan Fellowship, a 2X2 Pro Arts Grant, an Alternative Exposure SOEX Grant, and was a 2011 SFMOMA SECA Award finalist. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.