Above: Everything’s Fine, 2021 40″x35″ Fineliner pen and watercolor on paper and Yupo. Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.
Morton Fine Art (52 O Street NW #302) is pleased to present Veil, a solo presentation of new works on paper by artist Michael Booker, on view from November 6 – December 4, 2021. Rendered on paper and Yupo, Booker’s latest body of work depicts surreal scenes evocative of the artist’s psychological journey through tumult and towards inner peace.
In Booker’s compositions, portraits are partially shielded by swaths of color, and views are intercepted by lush organic forms. Joining geometric designs with ﬁguration, Booker’s large-scale drawings are rich in dynamism and detail, the artist acting as a conductor of a broad symphony of colors and tones. Owing to the drawing practice itself as a healing mechanism, Veil documents the emotional terrains crossed by the artist amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent instances of social injustice. The exhibition’s title gestures towards the strategies of emotional self-protection harnessed by the artist during periods of vulnerability and contemplation, barriers made visible in the layered eﬀects captured by the drawings themselves.
Despite the complexity of Booker’s compositions, each line and brushstroke remains visible, the artist using a wide range of materials and instruments, including ﬁneliner pen, colored pencil, watercolor, and alcohol ink. Booker’s mastery of his tools is evidenced by his ability to create dense ﬁelds of light, shadow, and texture through the careful application of ﬁne lines, resulting in superimposed tableaus reminiscent of collage or digital manipulation. Reverberating with the work’s themes, the meticulous process by which such depth and emotion is rendered echoes the strained experiences of self-reﬂection, growth, and reconciliation experienced by the artist during the course of these drawings’ creations.
“This exhibition chronicles a personal and emotional journey caused by the eﬀects of a prolonged pandemic and moments of social injustice,” said artist Michael Booker. “Volatile social interactions became commonplace in both media and amongst friends. Over time, a realization of resiliency set in, as these drawings became a form of cathartic therapy to search for a nuanced visual reﬂection of the turmoil that lingered within.”
Though invested with fraught emotions, the cohesion and harmony of the resulting works ultimately foreground hope and optimism. Capturing individuals immersed in solitary contemplation as well as in embrace, Booker’s drawings suggest resilience and reconciliation amidst societal and interpersonal volatility, demonstrating a multiplicity of pathways toward new light.