(Denver) Emerging from an enlightening two-month residency last year in La Napoule, France, Michael Gadlin has created a new series of mixed-media abstracts that examine a primitive and evocative fusion of expressive mark-making and tonal shifts. By combining painting and drawing elements, disassembled and reassembled, Michael re-imagines the interplay of raw elements that act as a deep vista of an imaginary landscape in his new show “Raw Marks”. The works are delivered on large paper surfaces, carrying a very thick, impasto like textural quality.
Michael Gadlin, host of "Art Scene," talks with Karen Roehl of Art Students League of Denver on Oct. 20 during a taping of the show in Studio D in the City and County Building. (Seth McConnell, YourHub)
Look even closer — smarter — and you can link in Michael Gadlin's recent set of oversize abstractions currently in the lobby of the 1801 California skyscraper downtown.
He scavenges those same blackened forests for pieces of charcoal and uses them like paint, marking canvases with raw, dark lines and pools of gray that are incorporated with acrylics and ink into his creations.
There is something miraculous about the works by definition: He resurrects dead things, turning them into lively and infinite explorations of human consciousness, into the "eternality" of art, as he puts it in his statement.
But they also contain a narrative of important events in the West, less direct, though just as journalistic as the cowboy and Indian paintings of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell.
Artist Michael Gadlin's show, "Entice," runs through Nov. 15 in the lobby of the skyscraper 1801 California, the CenturyLink Tower. At right, workers stroll past the artworks in the background of the lobby.
Emerging from a two-month residency last year in La Napoule, France, Michael Gadlin created a new series of mixed-media abstracts that examine a primitive and evocative fusion of expressive mark-making and tonal shifts.
By combining painting and drawing elements, disassembled and reassembled, Michael reimagines the interplay of raw elements in his new show "Raw Marks."
By Amy Norton
Born in Denver, Colorado, Michael Gadlin has been exhibiting work throughout the United
States for over 15 years. As a very young artist, Gadlin studied drawing and painting at the Art
Students League of Denver. After earning some of his tuition money from the sales of pastel and
charcoal drawings while in high school, Gadlin attended Pratt Institute in New York where he
majored in Communication Design and Illustration. In 1999 Gadlin was the youngest artist ever to
win "Best Of Show" at Denver's nationally renowned Cherry Creek Arts Festival. The Vance
Kirkland Museum acquired a work of his as part of their permanent collection. Gadlin currently
exhibits in Aspen, Denver, Vail, and Telluride, Colorado. Gadlin's well-received public art
installation, which was completed in 2004, hangs permanently in Denver's District 2 Police Station.
The Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art selected Gadlin to be included in the museum's
Rocky Mountain Biennial."
This was just after winning the Best of Show award at CCAF, Summer 1999.
Artist feature and interview.
LUXE Life - Creating a Legacy
TENACITY PROPELS A YOUNG ARTIST’S CAREER
Michael Gadlin remembers poring over a sketchpad at age eight, filling its pages with the pastels his mother bought for him off a grocery-store shelf. “It was like putting a puzzle together,” he says of the energy he put into his nascent creations. “I recall finishing and thinking that this—filling in every white space on the paper in front of me—was the completion of something.” It was, in fact, the start of something.
Gadlin would later go to the Pratt Art Institute in New York, where he threw himself into drawing and painting courses, taking away the coveted freshman prize of being one of a handful of students nominated for a full-ride scholarship for the balance of his undergrad years. The honor was huge for this fledgling artist who, two years into Pratt’s four-year program, returned to Denver to be close to his mother as she battled terminal lung cancer.
While in Denver, Gadlin befriended up-and-coming artist Darrell Anderson, who had participated in the prestigious Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea in Florence, Italy, in December 2007. Anderson generously mentored Gadlin by giving him a gallery to work in for free in LoDo. “I don’t think I realized then what a big deal it was that he gave me a key,” reflects Gadlin. Beyond a key, Anderson schooled the budding young artist in the business aspects of pursuing an art career, urging Gadlin to promote himself and to pursue contracts for public art installations. Gadlin’s first such honor was to create the art for District 2 Police Station. His 18 panels, each three feet by three feet, fill a nine-by-eight-foot wall and will, in Gadlin’s words, outlive him and even his daughters—a legacy this humble but tenacious artist holds precious. Gadlin’s art hangs in the Vance Kirkland Museum in Denver as well as in other museums.
Gadlin has come a long way from his days on the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, knocking on doors for a sketching job to supplement expenses at Pratt. Today, he often spends entire workdays, with painting palette in hand, inside his 400-square-foot studio at 15th and Pearl Street. He can recite a long list of serious local collectors who hang his work in their outsized homes that boast plenty of wall space. And yet, he still feels he’s just getting started.
WRITTEN BY NANCY CLARK
LUXE Magazine: The Luxury Home Redefined 2008