Michael Villareal

Artist Statement: 

I am a third generation citizen aware of both a past family culture and an inherited one. Growing up, both my parents worked at a U-Haul where they brought home discarded objects on a weekly basis, in a house my dad built with his own hands. Our home was a repository of their taste and a home for abandoned domestic American culture. Beds, window blinds, couches, and other products made it into the home which made it possible to function and have a normal lifestyle.

The way I approach my work is never from any directly observed source. Similar to my childhood, anything I want to convey is completed from memory. I take materials that are common for the construction of houses such as pink insulation foam, joint compound, paint, and configure these materials on a wooden structure to give the work material integrity. By doing this, each work plays on metaphor and becomes relatively domestic. A transformation of material develops a visceral response for objects such as an AC unit, or garden hose. Quirky, bulbous shapes and animated sensibility, or the re-contextualizing of an object from its original purpose transcends the narrative of the objects, but visually keep a familiarity.

My work is directed by the associations I have toward an object whether it is from a memory or a narrative experienced. An object can have connotations as a portrait of a family member, or derive as a filler for the overall completion of the environment being created. As the various objects accumulate, they begin to build their own reality within a space without straying far from our actual reality.

Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.

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