MOWA | Opening Party: Lon Michels

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Museum of Wisconsin Art
@ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Lon Michels: Disrupting Patterns is a mid-career retrospective of the Lodi-based painter. Early works date from Michel’s twenty-something years in New York after he fled a repressive childhood in rural Wisconsin for the freedom—creative and otherwise—promised by the Big Apple. His magnetic personality and distinctive style caught the attention of the art establishment: Michels spent his days as an assistant to sculptor Louise Nevelson and his nights hobnobbing at Andy Warhol’s Factory. From Nevelson, Michels learned the significance of scale and the power of constructed environments. Warhol’s conception of celebrity affirmed his penchant for brilliant color and his inclination to highlight the individual.
Michel’s Neo-Pop figuration intuitively navigates the boundaries between framed, staged, and the projection of self through pattern. He captures members of his social circle informally at home or at work, such as The Gallerist, surrounded by the seemingly banal ephemera of daily life. Within the ordinary aspects of their lives, Michels highlights their idiosyncrasies and emphasizes their fragile, approachable humanity. The exhibition will feature forty-five paintings displayed within a re-created lounge environment of leopard-painted Buddha sculptures, a taxidermy bear, a 1961 camper van, a VW, and plush household furnishings.