ARTIST STATEMENT

“The dignity of the artist lies in his duty
of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world.”
G.K. Chesterton

I have been interested in the imagery of fantasy since early childhood and all my artwork is, at its most fundamental level, about creating a “sense of wonder”.  In my illustration, my primary concern has been to create a window into the themes and story elements of a particular book.  My non-commissioned work is concerned with more personal themes.

Stylistically my art is best described as “Imaginative Realism”.  Most closely allied to the scope and feeling of what is referred to as contemporary “Visionary Art”, my gallery art is intentionally imbued with a strong sense of the mystical or dreamlike, and is suffused with symbolic content.  There is a deliberate attempt to invest the image with layers of meaning while having an immediate  subjective or emotional impression.

The majority of my work falls into one or another series of related paintings, which share common themes and symbols.  In general terms, my Faded Star series deal with the struggle against despair and hopelessness, humanity’s instinctive striving against what Barbara Tuchman calls the “burdens of modern man”:  loss of faith in religion, progress and the perfectibility of the human species.  My Passage series is concerned with a personal investigation into metaphysics, religion, and near death experiences.  My Lumen paintings are about the quest for inner revelation and meaning, of finding one’s true self, among other concerns.  Other series of works in progress (e.g., Virtues, Meditations, or End of Nature series) are about various other issues both subjective and objective.

Michael Whelan