The Queens Museum of Art

Flushing Meadow Queens, NY

Mike Solomon has developed an unusual technique for expressing subtle permutations in nature and the human form. By drawing and impressing an image into a clay tablet which is then printed, he creates variations of the same motif that can be arranged in horizontal, vertical or kaleidoscopic compositions. Narrative sequences unfold as the artist experiments with the formal possibilities inherent in serial imagery.

The landscapes, which relate to nineteenth-century paintings, are defined and updated by using a contemporary, minimalist vocabulary. Solomon’s concern for depicting changes in weather or times of day reminds one of Claude Monet’s method of recording natural phenomenon on separate canvases that serialized a given subject. By contrast, Solomon’s Gleam and Then Pale and Round Trip show the transition from day to night encapsulated in a single work. An abstract undulating line reads as a distant mountain range. It is the sky that expresses sublimity and the fleeting nature of appearances. These poetically distilled effects evoke a meditative mood.

In Solomon’s figural works, the use of serial imagery enhances the mystery and communicates the theme. In Defector repeated images of a man appear and then fade out in witty correspondence to the subject’s character. Swimmers in Black Cherry Soda glide gracefully in a blackened uncharted space. Solomon selectively constructs images, as writer structures words, to shed new insights on the familiar subjects of humanity and nature.

Barbara C. Matilsky Curator