With his recent paintings, Michael Shankman reveals interiors and exteriors of collapsing homesteads
from suburban areas of Colorado, the area where he grew up. He contrasts imagery of contemporary
dwellings built adjacent to century old homes. Shards of color and structural elements are depicted in
large, explosive compositions that stand in comparison to his careful and delicate renderings of small
clusters of suburbia.
The upcoming solo exhibition by Shankman, Dream Home, marks the continuation of an ongoing theme
within his work: using the lens of architecture to express human values. Where his paintings once
commented on fears of what is to come, this new series embodies the concept of ambition and the
American dream. Centuries ago people migrated to this uninhabited frontier to build new lives, full of
promise. Shankman sees similarities in the present-day migration of hopeful newcomers who continue to
make their way to this mountain region, to build their homes among the skeletal remains of their
predecessors’ dreams. The artist defines with paint brushes and pigments the inescapable reality that we
have come no closer to finding Utopia in the American West.
Shankman's process varies, but most of these images were inspired directly by places along the front
range of the Rocky Mountains, where mining attracted a wave of ambitious settlers in the mid- to late-
1800s. Abandoned homesteads dot the open space and are intrinsic to the landscape. Using photographs
and sketches as starting points, Shankman translates this realistic imagery into a more interpretive
aesthetic of decay and abandonment.
The suburban element follows a similar process of interpretive representation. The population of the
Front Range has nearly doubled in twenty years, altering the landscape dramatically. Where once there
was open space and farmland, suburban sprawl now extends to the horizon. Shankman's small, square,
modular panels mimic the standardization of newly developed enclaves, their modesty a reflection of their
The artist reception for Dream Home will be held First Thursday, March 4 from 6-8pm at HANG ART.
This event is free and open to the public.
HANG ART is located at 567 Sutter Street, between Mason and Powell Streets. Gallery hours are
Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. For further information or high
resolution images, please call 415 434 4264.
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