A calming sea of space surrounds a singular figure in Michael Alderson's oil pastels. His imagery narratives tell the story of the inner self, of its psychological isolation and its relationship to others. Striking compositions show solitary figures elongated and askew, their heads often looking up and out beyond the pictorial space. These pieces also reveal the intricacies of oil pastel. Alderson combines large surfaces of rich, smoky hues with touches of vibrant color until the image resonates with layers of thick intensity. By building up areas of pigment and working into the resulting impasto, he is able to create figures rich and textured.
Inspired by a quote by William Hazlitt, "whatever holds itself at a distance from us is also welcoming," Alderson creates an inviting sense of infinite space using a simple technique of warm colors verses cool colors. The figures made up of reds and yellows leap to the foreground from a field of cool blue. "I've always felt the deeper the space the more we want to get to the back of it," Alderson says.
Alderson's mastery of oil pastel as a medium of expression is obvious in the minimal landscapes he creates. The palette is rich and complex, vibrant yet calm, with the horizon endlessly pulling the viewer out to a sea of emotion. Says Alderson, " I have always loved the horizon like the oldest friend we have."
Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Michael Alderson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1992. He currently lives and works in Maine.