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Michael Ensminger
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Windsor Terrace



ARTIST STATEMENT: For over twenty-five years, my art making has taken me on a journey of creating and exhibiting. In that time, many peaks and valleys have led me to my current work, which exemplifies my personal journey while also acknowledging and segueing with universal journeys as well. This has been the engine and focus of my work. One of the primary interests that has driven my practice over the years is appropriating, re-purposing, and re-imagining found book pages and book plates. I’m attracted to a nexus that includes the materiality of the paper as well as the content of the book, which I interpret, interrogate, and render fluid. Using a variety of materials, including gouache, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, and graphite - I remake and reimagine a wide range of books. This includes 19th century medical illustrations, coloring books, and currently, antique hymnals. For many years, I responded to the book page/plate as an object alone. My interventions were defined by a certain formalism: the image, text, and/or margins and empty spaces. More recently, though, as in the work on hymnals, the page becomes a suspended, ancillary frame for an image rather than defining it formally. Gessoing the page means that I can retain the paper's original rich materiality, as well as the prime context of the book, but then leave myself free to invent narratives, signifiers, and tropes. These narratives reference landscape as a metaphor for journeys, in which light, mountains, forests, water, and skies stretching represent a fragile sense of hope, journeys, loss, and redemption. In my studio practice, I also make paintings and objects that frequently employ found materials. The inspiration is two-way. The paintings and objects inspire my book work; in turn, my book work shapes and influences my paintings and objects. My work can both feel formal as well as an informal, very deliberate or evoke a sense of spontaneity, which reflects my ongoing interest in vernacular, raw, and “outsider” art as well as a broad range of art history, including 19th century landscape painting as well as twentieth century minimalism. Zen gardens, scholars’ rocks, and Hindu tantric drawings are also points of reference and inspiration that meld global spiritual manifestations with my own secular upbringing and outlook.
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ARTIST RESUME:


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2016
​The Big Small Painting Show, ​Victory Hall Drawing Rooms, Jersey City, New Jersey
We Are Infinite, Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJ
Vanishing Point, Art House, Jersey City, NJ​
​​The Queens CorrespondAnce School, ​Academic Gallery, Long Island City, NY

2015
​The Divine and Sublime, Victory Hall Drawing Rooms, Jersey City, NJ
*Drift, No Lugar Arte Contemporaneo (residency), Quito, Ecuador
Tailored, Threaded, Stitched, Pinned, ​Knox Gallery, Monterey, MA

2014
​The Big Small Painting Show, ​Victory Hall Drawing Rooms, Jersey City, New Jersey
Obsolescence, Curious Matter Gallery, Jersey City, New Jersey

2012
Art From Dross, Islip Art Museum, curator Karen Shaw, East Islip, NY
Convergences, NARS Foundation Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2011
Secret Message, Islip Art Museum, curator Karen Shaw, East Islip, NY
Short Stories, FiveMyles Gallery, Brooklyn, NY​

2008
Dumbo Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY

2004
Infinite Possibilities: Serial Imagery in 20th Century Drawing (Kramarsky Collection), Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA (catalogue)

2002
Sew Fine, curator Karen Shaw, Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY
25th Anniversary Benefit Selections Exhibition, The Drawing Center, NY
Unraveling, curator Claire McConaughy,superior(an exhibition space), Cleveland, OH

2001
*La Galeria de Altos de Chavon, La Romana, Dominican Republic

2000
Heads, Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service, NY

1999
Size Matters, curator Mike Weiss, Gale Gates et al., Brooklyn, NY

1998
Cologne Art Fair, Margarete Roeder Gallery

1997
Group Show, Great Modern Pictures, NY
Series x Three, Margarete Roeder Gallery, NY
Face Value, P.S. 122 Gallery, NY

1996
*Great Modern Pictures, New York, NY
Repetition of Form, Margarete Roeder Gallery, NY
Gallery Selections, Margarete Roeder Gallery, Cologne, Germany
Paper, Art and the Book, Center for Book Arts, NY
Group Show, curator Thelma Golden, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Of Modest Means, Omni Gallery, Long Island, NY
Austerity Measures, 214 Lafayette St., NY

1995
*ARENA, Drawing Room, Brooklyn, NY
XI Mostra de Gravura Cidade de Curitiba/Mostra America, curator Poalo Herkenhoff, Museu da Gravura Cidada de Curitiba, Brazil (catalogue)
Telling Tales, Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Selections Spring 1995, The Drawing Center, NY

1990 Viral Infection-The Body and It's Discontents, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY

1989
Catalogue, Gracie Mansion Gallery, NY
Fiction/Friction, P.S. 122 Gallery, NY
*one person exhibitions

BIBLIOGRAPHY

EXHIBITION CATALOGUES AND GENERAL PUBLICATIONS

Eshoo, Amy, 560 Broadway: A Drawing Collection at Work, 1991-2006, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2008.

Chavez, Anja, et al editors, Infinite Possibilities,Serial Imagery in 20th Century Drawings, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, 2004.

Herkenhoff, Paolo, et al editors, XI Mostra de Gravura Cidade de Curitiba/Mostra America, Curitiba Prefeitura da Cidade, Fundacao Cultural de Curitiba, Brazil, 1995.


SELECTED ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

Parks, Steve, www.newsday.com, “Garbage Barge Revisited”, http://long-island.newsday.com/things-to-do/museums/garbage-barge-revisited-in-islip,www.newsday.com, June 13th, 2012.

Utter, Douglas Max, Unraveling, angle: a journal of arts and culture, 2002.

Tolentino, Marianne de, Alto nivel que se mantiene, Listin Diario, August 19, 2001, p. 5, (illus.)
Lee, John, Sew Fine, Islip Bulletin, 2002.

Helen Harrison, Aesthetic Alchemy and Surprising Photos, New York Times, Long Island Ed., September 15, 1996.

Servetar, Stuart, Austerity Measures, NY Press June 26, 1996.

Levin, Kim, Voice Choices, The Village Voice, July 10, 1990.

COLLECTIONS

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AK
Werner Kramarsky, New York, NY
Private Collections

RESIDENCIES, GRANTS

2015
No Lugar-Residencia de Arte Contemporaneo, Quito, Ecuador

2001
Altos de Chavon Cultural Foundation, Artist in Residence Program, La Romana, Dominican Republic

1991
Artists Space, Artist Exhibition Funding

EDUCATION

M.S. in Education, Brooklyn College
B.A., Studio Art, Empire State College, State University of New York
Undergraduate Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
 








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