For almost 30 years and with a great sense of humour, Michiels has investigated the status of painting. Unconventional grounds, such as antique postal items, books, used passports, antique vases and all manner of found objects are drawn into a two- or three-dimensional industriousness of oils, spray-paint, glitter and acrylics. Language has always played an important role in Michiels’ oeuvre; and in recent years, words and images increasingly enhance each other. The works bear humorous titles that refer to an evolving manifestation of ironic self-refection that echo our extraordinary current times. The treatment of ground remains important. Rich, painterly textures are patiently applied, layer by layer. They are only removed or overpainted to distil a hidden depth of bright colours. In his new series of ‘white works’ the upper layers accentuate the fragmented, masked-off areas in refective mother of pearl white or lead white. There are no ugly colours or colour combinations in Fred Michiels’ work: he transforms them into joyful atonal compositions.
Fred Michiels studied painting and drawing at Sint-Lucas, Antwerp (1984 – 88) and Cooper Union, New York (1993 – 96). Numerous exhibitions including C.C. Strombeek-Bever, CC De Warande, Turnhout; Ottilia Pribilla and Annie Gentils gallery (Antwerp); ‘Fading’ curated by Sven van der Stichelen (Brussels); Exit 11 (Gembloux, B); Brakke Grond (Amsterdam, NL); Bikini Wax (Mexico City); Antea (Santa-Cruz de Tenerife); Arthur (Herzele, B); Syndicat of Belgium Painters (Borgloon, B), Positions Art Fair (Berlin); Eva Steynen.Deviation(s)