|Jason McCoy Inc.
41 East 57 Street
New York 10022
Fax 212/319 4799
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Messenger: Oil Pastels, 2004 to 2005
December 8, 2005 January 28, 2006
Jason McCoy Gallery is pleased to present Michael Sell: Messenger, featuring oil pastel works from 2004 and 2005.
For the past twenty-five years, Michael Sell has extensively explored the medium of oil pastel, yet changing his subject matter from still lifes to the figure in the mid-1990s. Since then, he has revisited earlier and more meticulously rendered depictions of the figure in order to break down the strict realism inherent in those compositions. As a result, figurative forms appear as expressionistic and as the artist describes it “they are more spontaneous and emotionally direct […] taking them farther toward their own internal essence.”
This idea was partially inspired by a visit to the Elgin Marbles in London, where Sell became intrigued with ancient marble sculptures that contain fissured sections and are marked by the wear of centuries. Their transformation from classical structures into semi-abstract forms is analogous to Sell’s search for an inner truth.
In Michael Sell’s most recent body of work, the figures’ presence seems to slowly dissolve into the more atmospheric texture that characterizes the overall compositions. There is something equally soothing and unsettling about each depicted individual of whom only mysterious fragments remain. The figures’ poses suggest physical fragility and a lack of outside protection, a prominent subject for Sell, who identifies through personal experience. In the end, “these are all self-portraits even if drawn from a model,” states Sell, who further explains that each work is an attempt to face his fears of life’s termination while embracing the passions that define human existence.