Maps and Stacks


Maps and Stacks [2019] Tribeca, New York
Exhibition Content

New York, New York, October 16, 2019 -- On Thursday evening, Michael Angel’s second solo art exhibition, Maps and Stacks, opened in New York. Set in a two-story Tribeca gallery, the large scale mixed media works garnered praise from new and old collectors, art critics, as well as friends and design-world colleagues.

Angel’s museum-exhibited, hand drawn digital prints on fabrics, including expertly blended silks and wools he used as a designer, remain the medium of choice. Though now, his 10+ year archive of textiles serve as the top coat in a layered abstract expressionist painting on canvas, created through gestural movements in a style all his own.

Examining empathy, the universal emotive language, Angel’s mixed media works fold and crease, captured colors and cloth physically merging into piles of materialized movement, which distantly call to mind Sam Gilliam’s draped paintings and Katharina Grosse’s painted fabrics. For the innovative textile artist, material is also the subject, which summons a reevaluation of materiality and what it means “to paint.”

“My love of painting and art was inspired by the Great Masters’ treatment of cloth. This is an expansion upon the language of my work,” Angel says, “prompting the viewer to explore a process of merging, even in our most fragile and naive states [while] also showcasing both difference and harmony.” Maps and Stacks was curated by Steven Sergiovanni for Gobbi Fine Art, and will be on view until October 21st, 2019.

Maps and Stacks communicates differences and the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings: How they merge, even in our most fragile and naive state.

In his latest series Maps and Stacks, Michael Angel examines empathy - a universal emotive language that is constantly evolving, and now, taking form through his art.

Angel’s textures fold and crease, colors merge and cloth physically piles into a materialized movement captured in his compositions. His use of multimedia allows us to experience a literal and figurative narrative through the movement and pressure subconsciously applied.  The use of the seemingly opposing mediums of cloth and paint showcase both difference and harmony, and help tell a story about our own ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings.

Angel’s deliberate intrusion and his treatment of space, color and texture are meant to displace us.  This weight is seen transferring from piece to piece inviting the viewer to take part in this aesthetic conversation to understand one another's feelings along with the artist's.


What is the meaning behind the exhibition title, or the curation of these works?

Maps and Stacks is a language about empathy.

How have your works have evolved over the past 10 years (designer to artist)?

Since my earliest memories, I have drawn and painted.  I have always been fascinated by the early works of the Great Masters. The intrigue of the cloth fold in  paintings or sculptures propelled me into a lifelong study of this medium and its forms. This eventually led me to creating my own textiles based on my original artwork. After a decade in fashion design, I chose to focus solely on painting when the industry began to over commercialize digital print design and made it no longer special to me.

Over the past 2-3 years (specifically your artwork)... materials, inspiration, intention, etc.

Over the past 2-3 years, I began to incorporate the textiles of my Past as a natural extension of the media I was using at the time. This is the essence of the Maps and Stacksseries.  As a painter, the use of this medium enables me to further explores the perspective of the storytelling and expand the dialogue of painting.

How is the creation process similar, if at all, to designing?

The process is very different. When you are designing, you are doing it for people to actually wear. Fashion is first about practicality.  Art is a more personal and instinctual process intended to illustrate a narrative.

How do you feel your art contributes to current conversations in art and the contemporary landscape?

This show is really about empathy. The timing of this series is extremely relevant to where we are today given the current social environment.  Maps and Stacks was driven by my surroundings: empathy became prominent because of the lack thereof.  I am using these mediums because of their fragility and vulnerability. The medium that I use are very relevant to the discussion of contemporary art today but for me they have always been part of my work.

Which artists, classic or contemporary inspire and interest you? *Can we draw any similarities to your work?

My first love was with the Great Masters and their treatment of the cloth. Later I became drawn to the Abstract Expressionist movement. I have been inspired by various artists throughout my life and admire many of them. When I think of myself, I prefer not to associate with any movement or category, at least not for now… Maybe it’s related to my issues with commitment… except the commitment to my instincts.

Who (or what) is your muse?

My muse is my curiosity.

What is most exciting about your work right now? What's most exciting in the art world right now?

The most exciting thing about my work is the process and the discovery of new techniques. Also the response that I am getting has been very encouraging and positive. The art world right is exciting right now because of its current diversity and acceptance of all types of artists.

What will you do/work on next?

Expanding the language of my art.

In additon tot he show, Angel produced his first Zine in support of  the show. Titled Volume 1, 2019.