“does what goes on inside show on the outside? Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney and then go on their way…”
-Vincent Van Gogh
-My work is a kind of codified auto-biography. Plunging into imaginative and observational approaches, I surface with images which seem personally meaningful, whilst also resonating with larger political and philosophical themes. Often I am preoccupied by the confluence of patriarchal gender norms, capitalism and humanist exceptionalism which underwrites the anthropocene.
However, the work included in this show is even more personal than usual, charting a period of emotional turbulence; going through a divorce and falling in love again during the last few years of multiple pandemic lockdowns. Each painting externalises my feelings to create a trace or residue of what I was going through. Sometimes it seems obviously apparent, at others the true subject is only hinted at.
My work has gradually pushed towards a synthetic cubist language which enables images to overlay and enmesh with slippery, paradoxical boundaries, to suggest a messy nuanced truth usually disguised by simplistic binaries of male vs female, man vs nature. Usually each painting emerges from my imagination, informed by sketches and ideas both seen and dreamed.
Recently I have returned to painting directly from a model (my partner and friends), which enables me to paint with extreme speed and directness. I am interested in the energy transmitted by the sitter, but ultimately each painting expresses feelings entirely my own.
Michael Chance is a painter based in London, roaming around on a narrowboat and working in his studio in Bow. He studied Popular Music at Liverpool University and spent a few years playing in bands, designing posters, t-shirts and album covers in Manchester before moving to London in 2012 to study on the post-graduate programme at the Royal Drawing School. Between 2014-18 he co-founded and ran Mercer Chance Gallery in Hoxton, showing emerging artists with a focus on drawing and painting. Since then he has dedicated himself to working in the studio, with some teaching on the side. Although Michael is primarily committed to painting, he is passionate about sculpture and makes 3D works in a kind of dialectical conversation. He also makes music and writes poetry, which inform and inspire his visual practice.