The scenes in Michelle Blade’s recent paintings are preternaturally luminous; days are flaxen pink, nights are brooding indigo. A third-generation Angeleno, Blade wields California light in ways that make quotidian events idyllic, sometimes ecstatic. Together, these tableaux offer a dialectic picture of a single artist mother as she parses her roles, observing herself and her children, integrating art and life. Though the focus of these paintings is the figure, Blade overwhelms her subjects with their surrounds. Often, her figures are simply rendered and take up little space on the canvas. It is through her treatment of the environment—painted in a vivid, expressionistic manner that veers toward pictorial animism—that Blade describes rich interiorities. We experience the reverie, confusion, or surrender of her subjects in the disarray of bedsheets, the slanted trajectory of clouds, or the way a branch yields or reaches…As she developed these paintings, Blade considered the word “sentimentality” and the ways in which it is both feminized and used pejoratively. She leaned into the lyrical, romantic aspect of her scenes, endeavoring to expand the scope of the term. Indeed, there is a sweetness to Blade’s paintings, but what makes them so are the darkness, complexity, and precariousness that seem to hover just outside their bounds. Michelle Blade lives and works between Los Angeles and Portland, OR and is a visual artist working in painting, sculpture, installation and illustration. She holds a BA from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and an MFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
[excerpted from the Micki Meng website: https://friendsindeed.art]