Michael Eble was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received a BFA degree in painting from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a MFA degree in painting and drawing from the University of Mississippi, in Oxford, Mississippi. He is currently Curator of Events & Exhibitions for the College of the Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He recently relocated back to Louisiana from Minnesota where he was an Associate Professor of Studio Art and Curator of the Edward J. & Helen Jean Morrison Gallery at the University of Minnesota, Morris for thirteen years. He has shown his paintings and works on paper in numerous regional and national solo and group exhibitions, most recently in Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Eble was recently awarded a Artspark Grant from the Acadiana Center for the Arts in 2016, he has also been a recipient of several Imagine Fund awards and Grant in Aid awards from the University of Minnesota, along with a Residential Fellowship in 2008 from the Institute for Advance Study, along with additional grants and research funding from the McKnight Foundation, Lake Region Arts Council, Vermont Studio Center, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the New York Mills regional cultural center.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words. Colorful, improvisational, and Structured
Describe yourself in one word. Optimistic
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? I am a New Orleans native, but currently live in Lafayette, LA. Growing up you just don't realize how great of a city it is in regards to the Arts. I think I am very much influenced by New Orleans artists that have come before and seeing their work in local galleries, museums, and public art pieces in the city. I can remember 1984 Worlds Fair and how it changed that area of the city and how it continues to change. The Graphic design from that period also resonates with me, from the World's Fair logo, to Jazz Fest posters, to the logo of the USFL New Orleans Breakers. In many ways I am nostalgic for the New Orleans I grew up in, many of those architectural and design elements from the 80's and 90's continue to still feed me creatively.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I begin my day early, I am a lark and begins in the studio with a black cup of coffee and a good pod cast. At some point I glue something down or mix a paint color and I am off... somedays three hours pass, other days I need to stop, so I can get my kids off to school. I work on a number of canvases and works on paper all at the same time. I bounce from each pieces daily and occasionally hunker down and focus on one piece until i feel it is resolved. Sometimes I get stuck and I put artificial time limit to push myself to complete work.
I am currently painting with paper by collaging paper to a surface along with adding some painted imagery. I guess you could say my pieces are mixed media versus a traditional painting. I have several trays of paper that serve as my palette for each piece, I often cut and tear paper to fit certain aspects of each composition. I continue to layer the piece over and over until I feel a sense of completion, which involves an element of being worked and pushed, but also a sense of balance.
Where do you draw inspiration?
My current work is a collection of visual arrangements that utilize shape, pattern, and color as a formal language. These new works are visual clusters that are derived from a number of resources. Cartography, Japanese pattern making, Mid-century design, maritime cultures, and architecture all feed the works that I am currently producing. By embracing a flat or artificial design perspective, I begin to draw upon the abstract qualities that emphasize structure and order through asymmetrical design. This visual language is invented through the meanders, motifs, repetition of forms, and distinct palettes. Each piece is created as part of a visual atlas that records a collection of responses to place and experiences, providing me with a record and clearer understanding of the environment around me.
My creative practice is based on a process of contemplation, play, and intuitiveness. The work slowly evolves from each working session, in which I work on several pieces at once. I recently introduced collage into my painting practice. The immediacy of color from painted paper, commercial card-stock, or found paper, provides an alternative to the rigors of a hard edge painting process. The layering of visual information into abstracted forms serves as my language in paint. This language consists of invented shapes and melodic palates that are derived from the natural environments, cartography, mid-century design, and maritime design. Combining these resources and influences has allowed me to produce original works that are reflective.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
The Dept. Visual Arts Faculty at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Elmore Morgan Jr, Allan Jones, Lynda Frese, and John Hathorn
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Dr. John's , Gumbo YA YA... I once did an art exhibit of my own work in fish house on a frozen lake in Minnesota call Gumbo Ya Ya..
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
The College of the Arts, Fletcher Hall at UL Lafayette and driving my kids around....
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Friday afternoons in the spring during Louisiana Festival Season...
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I have four kids, all boys.... it's fun
Where You Can Find My Work
College of the Arts, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Hallway Gallery, Lafayette, LA
Claire Elizabeth Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Contemporarium Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA
Big Easel Art Fair, Lafayette, LA
Three Rivers Art Fair, Covington, LA
Standard Title, Lafayette, LA