Michael Wirtz

Region: West

People always seem a bit disappointed when I explain that I can't honestly tell them what my paintings are about. Not that they are just meaningless conglomerations of absurd images, but I never have a suitable answer when someone asks: "what's going on in this painting?" In many ways, I'm as baffled by my paintings as my audience is. Every time I hang a show, I see something new - something that I wasn't consciously attempting to communicate.

When I create these objects, I don't think about the narrative of the depicted figures, meaning I don't have a particular story in mind. All the imagery is inspired by personal experiences and observations, but all I really care about is that singular, represented moment and what sort of response it will elicit from my audience. I intentionally attempt to paint these pieces to be simultaneously funny and stoic. I love the tension of viewing something so absurd within the context of a serious statement. In fact, I play these tensions off each other in every aspect of the objects' creation. The conception, the composition, the color use, and the paint handling are all set up to create tension between two opposites. This keeps me, and hopefully my audience, persistently inquisitive.