Michael Rousseau's Classical Shadow

May 03, 2014


'Individuality, taboo, vice, sex, beauty, power, impermanence, and more are explored in my work. I use the figure and objects as vehicles to translate these concepts. I strive to create images that portray my perception of culture and society and bridge the gap between classical and modern figurative painting. I am moving away from the literal “portraiture” of my earlier work toward a more open ended visual experience for the viewer.' Michael Rousseau


'I paint contemporary subjects using a combination of modern and traditional oil painting techniques. I am very interested in the science and history of oil painting and how the materials work together in combinations (pigments, mediums, surface, oils, etc). The subject matter is derived from the people, places, things and ideas that are around and surround me as an American artist living in the 21st Century. Often just a glimpse, a reference, a situation, or reaction is enough to spark imagery. The work combines different sources from classical painting to pop culture, often using symbolism and juxtaposition to extend meaning or find a narrative.


My current body of work is an exploration of the effects of chiaroscuro (light-dark) on a subject. I am using techniques gleaned from a recent in-depth study of Caravaggio to create images bathed in a warm, deep “classical” shadow. This style of painting implies a specific mood, time and sense of quiet while my method of loose and tight brush work, finished and unfinished passages, imparts a sensuality, movement and focus...'