I would like to take some time today to talk about a good friend and talented artist; Tisch Mikhail Lewis. I recently had the opportunity to attend her BFA exhibition “WERK” as she commences from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant Michigan, and I felt it necessary to share my experience with my loyal readers (or reader, as it may be).
My relationship with Tisch started as we both studied painting under the expert tutelage of the masterful Larry Butcher at Delta College. While the details of why we spoke to one-another or became friends is a bit fuzzy, even in our early days of painting Tisch was a talented painter who always poured herself into her work, and I guess that hard work demanded my respect and admiration.
After viewing “WERK” it was pretty obvious that Tisch continues to pour all of her energy into her work. Her pieces don’t just represent her, they contain her, they deconstruct her, they ARE her. Each image explores her inside and out, as we tour the physical and the non-physical elements of Tisch.
I began by standing in front of the larger than life nude self portrait of my friend. A graphite drawing directly on the wall, immediately I knew this piece was not long for this world. It was personal to Tisch, she was entirely exposed and vulnerable, yet standing there, I could feel the nakedness, and the self-image concerns I have with my own body.
After taking in the large drawing, I turned to the tiny printed pieces. It was easy to see how they explored the microcosms of the artists own form, dissecting pieces from the whole. These small bites began to strip my perceptions of the naked form until all that was left was expression and beauty. These pieces were truly remarkable with their soft colors, and fleshy texture. Her process was as effective as it was beautiful.
My next stop was the colorful alien landscapes on loose canvases. These images continued to dissect the naked body, pouring in emotion and color in ways that was absent from the tiny printed pieces. They deconstructed the vulnerability of the nakedness of the larger nude, and replaced it with comfort and care-free energy.
The final area of her show was her quilted constructs. In honesty, these pieces did not resonate with my tastes, but are a necessary progression from the previous work in the show. These quilted segments are far removed from what once was, only snippets of form and color remain, as the artist non-physical nakedness and shame has been completely dismantled and reassembled into the physical art. The large drawing will be painted over, gone forever, what will remain is the beauty extracted, forever removed from self-image.
Find out more about this phenomenal artist here: Tisch Mikhail Lewis