ART GALLERY--Michael EASTMAN Works for Sale. BIDDINGTON'S ART GALLERY--More Paintings and Sculpture.

 Michael Eastman painting C4
Artists' Studio Visits at Biddington's Art Gallery

Faux-Naïf Painter

CREATIVE PROCESS visits the Tribeca (New York City) studio of contemporary painter Michael Eastman whose work includes graffiti-like text and figurative elements.

Oil on Canvas
with quote from Louis MacNeice

Michael EASTMAN: My painting tends to be accident-dominated and intuitive, probably a reflection of my roots in Abstract Expressionism where intuition and the accident were cherished. But where an abstract painter uses blotches or slashes, I use identifiable objects or words.

Detail of Michael Eastman painting Riensi Purchase Order

Michael EASTMAN: My paintings sometimes look to be primitive expressions--barely saved from chaos by the reining-in that certain guidelines regarding space and orderliness impose.

Detail of painting Riensi Purchase Order
Large Oil Painting on Canvas

detail of Michael Eastman painting Lady Exercising

Michael EASTMAN: Initially, my works are linear and non-figurative. But a brush stroke or a drip will suggest an image. A figure will start to emerge or a box or a bunch of leaves. When things are going right (as they occasionally do) watching the picture take shape can be quite fascinating.

Detail of Lady Exercising
Oil on Canvas

Coming of Age text detail from Book Jacket painting

Michael EASTMAN:: When I was in art school, at Pratt, the only representational art was taught in a class for designing paperback book jackets. Abstract painting was hot. In the Cedar Bar, people like Kline and De Kooning were the center of attention.

Detail from Book Jacket
From "Printed matter Redesigned" Series
Oil On Canvasboard

Michael EASTMAN: I had no great epiphany about artistic style. My only epiphany was a small one: I was working on a commercial art job for IBM sitting next to a guy with a family and a mortgage when it occurred to me that I had no such obligations, and I could do whatever I wanted. So, I left.

Detail of Michael Eastman painting Corn

Michael EASTMAN: I like the idea of words on a painting--it makes it more sign-like. Signs are nice.

Detail of painting Corn
Oil on Panel

Michael EASTMAN: In a series I call "Printed Matter Redesigned", I vastly improve standard print materials like this exhibition brochure from the Brooklyn Museum:
Comparison of detail from painting Brooklyn Museum Brochure and actual source

Detail from painting Brooklyn Museum Brochure and Actual Brochure

Michael EASTMAN: I like Donald Baechler's heavily outlined objects--his simple stuff. I like Diebenkorn's ability to handle paint--both in the early landscapes and in the abstracts.

detail of Michael Eastman  painting Wheaties
Michael EASTMAN: In my series of paintings Nudity and the Flag in Advertising, I meant to embody the qualities sought by every reasonably gifted advertising/art student of the 60's and 70's: balance, clarity, contrast and pizzazz.

Detail of Wheaties
From "Nudity and the Flag in Advertising" Series
Oil on Canvas

Michael EASTMAN: Product labels are nice. To them I add figures that don't have any clothes on (for pizzazz enhancement) and most of the canvases suggest ways of using patriotic fervor as a sales strategy.

Michael EASTMAN: Sometimes I just open a magazine and copy whatever words are there. People who are looking for meaning in my paintings can find this frustrating. On occasion, I do use a phrase from a poem.

detail of Michael Eastman  painting Sunday Morning

Detail from Sunday Morning Diptych
with quote from Wallace Stevens

detail of Michael Eastman RUZ painting

Michael EASTMAN: In RUZ the line "I think of all you might have done" is from a somewhat melancholy John Peale Bishop poem about a fellow who died young. I like the words--and the way the words look on the painting. My paintings are totally visual.

Detail of painting RUZ
Oil on Canvasboard

Michael EASTMAN: I work on 3 or 4 paintings at once--both to sustain my interest and to let the paint dry.

Michael Eastman in his studio with Prime Numbers

Michael EASTMAN: I have so many ideas that don't work out, but I don't make sketches first. If I were teaching art school, I would tell my class: "In this game, most things don't work." This painting 1801: 14 Prime Numbers is the fourth repainting of this same canvas. When a painting doesn't work, I paint over it until it looks nice.

Michael Eastman in His Studio
with "1801: 14 Prime Numbers"

Eastman repainted series

View Michael Eastman paintings currently offered for sale at
Biddington's Contemporary Art Gallery.
Price range: $1,000-$6,000

Michael Eastman Recent Exhibitions:
2001, 1999, 1998 Stephen Haller Gallery, New York, NY
1996 Carmichael Fine Arts, St.Paul, MN
1995 Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1995 Center Galleries, Detroit, MI
1994 Clare Spitler Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI

Michael Eastman Collections:
Joseph Hirshhorn Museum Collection, Washington, DC
Art Student's League, New York, NY
Mauntner-Markof Collection, Vienna, Austria

Michael Eastman Honors and Awards:
Grant in Painting, Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Grant in Painting, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
McDowell Traveling Fellowship
Grant in Painting, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Merit Scholarship, Art Students' League
Artist/Resident, Yaddo Colony

Sequence of Underpaintings (right) for
Michael Eastman Painting "1801: 14 Prime Numbers"
Top: "Contract", 1996
Middle: "Coke" 1997
Bottom: "Latin Class", 1997

Michael Eastman with Greco-Egyptian painting

Michael Eastman in His Studio
with Greco-Egyptian


CREATIVE PROCESS at Biddington's is designed as a forum for watching art in the making. Usually, this process happens in the privacy of the artist's studio. At BIDDINGTON'S--Contemporary Art Gallery & upmarket, online art & antiques auctions--we find it interesting to witness the steps leading to the end product and to hear the artists speak about their work in the relaxed surroundings of their own studios.

Email Biddington's with your comments.

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