June 1, 2024 - June 22, 2024

Michael Polakowski

Melodrama (Gallery II)

Opening Reception with the Artist(s): Saturday, June 1, 2024 6:00-9:00PM

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Thinkspace Projects presents:

(Gallery II)

Opening Celebration:
Saturday, June 1 from 6-10pm

Plus be sure to check out the Thinkspace Night Market located in the courtyard between our two spaces featuring live painting, an artist mini-mart, vintage offerings, an open bar, great food, a weed bar, video projections, murals, art installations and more!

On view June 1 – June 22, 2024

Artist / Show Statement:
The work in “Melodrama” are all dream like abstractions where context is obscured, but the emotional weight of each scene is all too palpable. The details lead the viewer to investigate for an elusive explanation that is asking to be unearthed, but consistently elusive. Somehow, explanation feels just out of frame or on the edge of a distant horizon, but always failing to arrive in time. Drawing inspiration from the Hudson River School and mythological paintings, the works in this opening all share in a feeling that if you take yourself to seriously you end up looking like a fool. Hazy bar scenes, stray drapery caught in the branches of a tree, or roses, so delicate they could wilt under the light of the moon, all walk the line between drama and comedic shtick . The paintings in this exhibition feel so burdened by their emotional heaviness that they collapse beneath the pressure and become impossibly light. Plainly put, “Melodrama” is centered around the scholarly pursuit of clownery.

About Michael Polakowski:
Michael Polakowski began his studio practice in 2016 in Detroit, MI. In the first few years of his career, and throughout his upbringing in the Midwestern United States, he often felt like he was missing out on a sense of clarity that only existed somewhere else. His work came to focus on how mental health frames and contextualizes our view of the world, often using windows or other visual portals to represent the boundary between our present lives, and the seemingly far-off idealized world. Polakowski thinks of each painting as an opportunity to expand upon an ongoing narrative within his work, a narrative where the protagonist is grappling with finding a sense of self, maintaining presence in their environment, and connecting to the world around them. However, these abstract ideas are usually depicted in scenes like stolen cars abandoned in a river-bed, or harrowing tales of a lone explorer lost in a metaphysical desert. With his work, Polakowski is always trying to strike a balance between “heaviness” and “lightness.” That’s why, at first glance, his work is vividly colored and populated with inviting imagery. It’s only through further investigating the connection between the images that the deeper narrative surfaces.

Detroit has offered Polakowski a lot of unique opportunities as an emerging artist, whether that be his first residency with Red Bull House of Art or his most recent mural completed in collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Arts. His work has been recently included in group shows in Belgium, the Netherlands, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong as well as a recent issue of New American Paintings.