The relationship between landscapes and structures fascinates me. My goal is to visually communicate the interconnectedness of the environment, the natural landscape, structures, infrastructure, and the viewer. A strong theme throughout my work is an awareness of illusionistic space that incorporates the viewer’s perspective into the architecture/environment dialogue. Through the exaggerated use of diminishing perspective, varying line and edge definition, and the intense representation of light and shadow, I create spaces that allow the viewer to wander through.
By portraying infrastructure, structures, and landscapes, I examine the paradoxical struggle between nature and civilization. Nature is inherently wild and entropic, yet we expend so much energy into forcing it into submission, marginalizing it, and ultimately, separating it from us. This is especially true and relevant to southeast Louisiana where the taming of the Mississippi River threatens the wetlands that support and protect the entire area. In my work, I reveal how the dichotomy between man and nature is a constructed fallacy. In showing how manmade structures are subject to and exist within the environment and not separate from it, my work addresses a key concept in deep ecology--that there is no real separation between the human and the non-human realms.
I want my work to raise ecological questions and break the preconceived boundaries between the environment and architecture: Where does the environment end and the landscape or the architecture begin? What is the viewer's relationship to architecture and the environment?
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Michael Biros is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Bywater neighborhood.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Alive, senescent, reflective
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
Oh man, I love everything. I’m especially drawn to the spatial/temporal nature of this city and the awesome clouds. Being a port city with an intense history, the neighborhood fabric changes drastically block to block and year to year. The urban decay coupled with the wildness of the vegetation is very much woven into the culture of New Orleans.
I love representing these concepts in my work at varying scales. For instance burgeoning clouds in a post-industrial blighted landscape provokes a sense of temporality on both an immediate and long-term scale.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I start each piece by smearing the page with a heavy, uniform layer of charcoal so that the entire page is a dark shade of grey. From this starting point, I alternate drawing reductively with the eraser and additively with the stick of charcoal. This process mirrors the accretion and erosion of land, structures, and vegetation that form the subject matter of my drawings.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from the wildness that exists everywhere. One of my favorite places to visit, sketch, and go birding is the abandoned golf course at City Park. I love watching ecological succession take over a place that was once manicured and controlled. There is beauty in the decay and rebirth.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
I’m a huge fan of Edward Hopper. I love how he captures place-specific light.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song
lyric best describes your work?
The Grateful Dead. Robert Hunter’s lyrics are full of imagery that reference decay and rebirth, loss and hope, death and love.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Gardening in my backyard, hanging out with my neighbors on their porch, or baking a pie.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
The moment as I fall asleep when my mind is somewhere between being conscious and unconscious. I come up with the most creative ideas and can visualize detailed landscapes I want to draw. The trick is being able to retain these ideas.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I love yurts! They’re awesome! I once designed, built, and lived in a yurt for a couple summers. When I’m doing something monotonous like driving long distance, I like to think about how I’d build a yurt and solve yurt-specific design problems.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
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