Artist Statement: I am a populist. I look for the beauty of others while embracing the diversity of our world. I want to explore the aesthetic mood of this generation by placing my work in relationship with one another, allowing the tensions between the pieces to define the exhibition space, engaging with and displaying the process of production of the artwork as much as its final results. My work grows out of conceptual practices like Impressionism, Street Art, Fauvism, and Expressionism. The separation of families at the border because of economics or migrant work has been going on for decades; but only lately it has been a “cause célèbre” that will be quickly forgotten as the country and politicians move on to the next perceived indignity. Meanwhile, families cannot be together and suffer because a father, mother, sibling or grandparent works in the United States to be able to send money back home. They are only allowed to connect on Sundays, and even then through a galvanized steel barricade that represents an imaginary line on the ground, because one person can be here, while the rest cannot. For this series, while I do not know these people, or who they are interacting with through the border wall, I do know what it feels like to be separated from the ones I love because of economic necessity, and how it has shaped my family today.
Artist Bio: Michael James studied figurative painting at the Universidad Catolica De Chile School of Art in Santiago, Chile. He received his Bachelor of Science and MBA at California Coast University, and post graduate work in humanities and business at Harvard University/Harvard University Extension. His first exhibit was at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York in 1989. He has participated in numerous group exhibits at galleries in NY, CA, NM, CO, WI, MI, MN and Santiago, Chile and at museums in the United States including The Galen (Palm Springs Museum) in PD, California, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Muskegon Museum of Contemporary Art in Mi. His commissioned works are still on display at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms, California. He also has work in the permanent collection of the Northern Waters Resort in Watersmeet, Michigan. Michael James completed a residency at the Art Center Ukiah with Mendocino County Arts Council in NoCal in 2020.