As an artist, I work in a variety of media to create both functional and expressive pieces. In drawing and painting, I combine media (including paper, paint, pens, and pencils) to integrate rich color with line drawings. I build up surfaces, both smooth and rough, out of a belief that a rich surface increases the associations between the work and the world. I build dense color combinations, as well as transfer, combine, or collage sketches and drawings. I present everyday people and objects in color fields that evoke mystery, raise questions, and present social issues and identities that are not necessarily noticed. My subjects range from waiters and passers-by to nail polish containers and teabags. By separating images from their environment, I hope to gather attention and raise interest in what is unknown about ordinary subjects. Recently I began carving wooden books (“the books of things we don’t know”) and making small, functional boxes and cabinets, carved and painted mirrors, and small furniture. I am bringing some of the subjects of my works on paper into more literal existence, retaining a sense of mystery, but further blurring the line between fine and functional Arts. I believe that the importance of momentary and everyday things needs to be elevated in our consciousness. It is through sensitivity to the common place and an acknowledgement of the gaps in our own knowledge that we can develop a clear vision of how to support sustainable, peaceful, and tolerant relationships and communities.
Michael Sweeney was born in Plattsburgh, New York in 1964. He works in painting, drawing and woodworking, combining traditional skills with improvisatory techniques. Sweeney completed his M.F.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1990. Since that time, he has participated regionally and nationally in solo and group exhibitions, fundraisers and auctions, as well as created commissioned paintings, carvings, and furniture for private clients. Sweeney has pursued dual careers, first in libraries and then as an English teacher, in an effort to remain connected to his interest in communication and social issues related to linguistics and aesthetics. He currently lives and works in Middletown, CT.