TPCAC | P.O. Box 863 | Troy, AL 36081 | (334) 670-2287

Mike Howard: A Journey Homeward

Upstairs Gallery: February 24 through April 9, 2016

A native of Phenix City, Alabama, Painter Mike Howard went on to study at the University of Georgia and before graduation was accepted at the most prestigious college art program, the Whitney Museum Independent Study program, in New York City. His studies continued at Rutgers University where he received his Masters in Fine Arts. He began his career working as Donald Judd’s assistant, in the 1970s, but instead of working as a minimalist sculptor he became a painter.

He has shown in an array of solo and group shows which extend from the South to the North and even abroad, showing at P.S.1, Gracie Mansion Gallery, and New Museum in New York City, Cohen Gallery, PA, Jason Rubell Gallery, Miami, FL, Eliat Gordon Gallery, LA, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, GA and Barbara Farber Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands just to name a few. His work can be found in many public and corporate collections, including five paintings in the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Vera G. List, NY, Harvard University, Lajolla Museum of Contemporary Art, CA, First National Bank, OH, Artforum Magazine, NY, and the Don Judd Foundation, TX. His earlier works in the 1980s ventured into performance art, one staged project included “Win a Trip to Paris Sweepstakes”, which was a piece affiliated with the Fluxus movement. His later work, which can be seen at the Johnson Center for the Arts, focuses mainly on canvas scenes, painted at a monumental scale, of the rural country life from his childhood. One can see cows grazing, decaying animals, fox hunts, farms and bear attacks, and interestingly enough, Howard would not consider himself a huntsman or an outdoorsman. A number of the large canvas paintings were based on photographs of haystacks and cows between Hurtsboro and Hatchachubee, Alabama, what the artist credits as a beautiful seven miles of road.

Among his large-scale rural landscapes, a unique series of tapestries with inset paintings can be seen in this show, which was made as a collaboration between Howard and his wife Mary. After being commissioned to design display windows for Brunschwig Fils, a high-end French fabric retailer, the two used the left over fabric to create these striking pieces. They were first shown at Horodner Romley Gallery, NYC in 1990.

Howard works between his Brooklyn, NY and Hurtsboro, AL studios. His mother and her family are from Troy and Sandfill, making this a special show for Howard.