Bio / Statement
Michael Conlan is an interdisciplinary visual artist, curator, and educator living and working in North Dakota. Conlan earned his BFA in Art Practices with a concentration in sculpture and a Minor in photography from Portland State University, Portland Oregon. Conlan earned his MFA in Visual Art from the University of North Dakota with a focus on sculpture, photography and mixed media. He has exhibited his artwork both nationally and internationally. Conlan has resided throughout the country, this has fueled his research and exploration of the idea of place, both visually and conceptually.
Conlan’s current visual artwork focuses on the exploration of the idea of place, primarily the “prairie” of the Northern Plains. His work references the historical use of the American Landscape and its many layers of meaning. Drawing from the Hudson River School to contemporary artists, Conlan is continuing the tradition of exploring the landscape as a visual motif to confront both social and environmental issues along with formal studies of making and meaning.
Conlan’s Transitions is a developing body of work centered around abstracting the landscape through formal investigations of line, color, space, and form. These works are a direct response to the prairie landscape, via studying the hierarchy of built environments interacting with the natural topography of the land. The investigations are performed through process-based modes of making that employ a wide variety of media. Conlan is deliberately distilling the concept of the landscape motif down to its basic properties as he visually walks the line between the abstract and the non-objective.