In Spaces and Other Places
In Spaces and Other Places is a recent body of works by Michael Velliquette that mark a new trajectory in his practice, combining his mixed-media drawings with his complex cut paper constructions. Velliquette revisits the vocabulary of symbols and images found in his earlier works, including double-sided profiles, hands and collectives of faceless figures, which he’s previously explored in mythological, scenic narratives. Themes of exploration, alien encounter and transformation are played out in the backdrop of outer space.
I work with materials and tools that are available to most hands—wood, paper, scissors, paint, plaster, glue—and which are then transformed into spectacles of the handmade. I primarily make drawings and sculpture; more specifically, wall-mounted sculpture constructed out of cut, painted paper and low relief, mixed media tableaux.
My interests tend towards the fantastic. I take inspiration from art, architecture, and design from broad periods and places, and often move into the sketching stage with a kind of pan-cultural amalgam in mind. However, the works are rarely direct quotes—it’s important to me that they maintain a certain ambiguity over how, when, and where they were made.
As the works progress, improvisation takes over. Color is paired arbitrarily. Ink is drizzled. Cuts are left irregular and gesture is left evident. I fashion elaborate, dimensional, interconnected strata. Recurring motifs can be interpreted through formal, symbolic or representational lenses. As their density builds they can verge on becoming a kind of absurdly awesome decoration.
The notion of making for its own sake is at the heart of my practice. My work is invested with attributes of our shared creative heritage where we do more than what is necessary to things—we adorn. The aesthetic traits I am most interested in could also be said to be present in ritually driven object making, devotional ornamentation, or in our natural human impulse for razzle-dazzle.