American artist Mike Howard’s paintings are immediately recognized for their striking, unexpected subject matter, and their monumental scale. His subjects are small but immediately recognizable images—the quiet, sometimes harmonious, sometimes discordant moments of everyday life in America. He paints these moments quickly and with great facility, with a compositional eye similar to Edouard Manet. His work taps into our collective visions. Hunting is depicted as both a means of solitude and camaraderie, the farm as creation that works with and against its natural surrounding.
This show, comprised of Howard’s new and unseen works, fundamentally engages with human’s conflicting and various relationships with the natural world. Made in a Plein-Air style, his paintings, though often presenting unpopulated or rural places (even when set in New York City), are not Thoreauvian meditations. Rather, they reimagine and rethink our images of what a farm or hunt should look like. They are, in a sense, social images—part of our collective social imagination.
Mike Howard is an American painter who began is career working as Donald Judd’s assistant, in the 1970s. He garnered a series of solo and group shows, including exhibitions at P.S. 1 and Gracie Mansion Gallery. Building on early ventures into performance art, Howard’s work during the 1980s, including his staged project “Win a Trip to Paris Sweepstakes”, was of a piece with the Fluxus movement. His later work, which has been exhibited all across the country, returns to Howard’s perennial themes: our vision of nature, pop culture, and rural life.