I began painting, drawing and making collages shortly after receiving my doctorate in art history. Naturally, the artists of the past, old and modern masters, the Surrealists, as well as contemporary imagery, have all had a great influence on my art. Above all, I strive for good form in drawing and composition, what Roger Fry and the formalists called "Significant Form." I seem to be turning more to black and white for the collages. Subject matter is secondary, but important. Studying art history, I was impressed above all, by the Greco-Roman tradition, that is, forms of neoclassicism beginning in the late Renaissance. It amazes me how this rich tradition has held on -- it even survived through modernism into our post-modern age. Now that representational art is acceptable, the human figure is back.
In European art I love most of all the academic approach, in which elegant line and contour play a leading role. This is the concept of disegno, which had its roots in the Roman, Florentine and Bolognese Schools. I often show my talents as a calligrapher by including decorative, flowing two-dimensional line for its own sake.
Also noticeable is my love of detail. I see no advantage in producing a work of art quickly. Slap-dash brushwork to me is meaningless, sloppy expressionism, which is damaging to form. I would rather be called primitive in my attention to labored, tight brushwork, which tends toward a hardness, in the view of some. I consciously attempt to create "archaic" art. I actually strive for multiplicity over unity in my painting, which means individual forms are set side by side (as in a 15th century Italian painting) rather than merging together in clouds of light and shadow, as Rembrandt would do; my clearly outlined figures sometimes resemble collage elements, as each stands out, but hopefully a pleasant composition ultimately results.
As for subject matter, I go back to Greek mythology, allegory, bacchanales, historical themes, and the nude where there is really no subject at all. I'll also go into social and political satire if I have a particular axe to grind. I am always experimenting and feel that I'm growing as an artist. This has become my passion and focus in my life.
Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS
2011: "The Love Letters of J.J. Winckelmann," The Gay and Lesbian Review 18 (September/October 2011): 12-14.
2005: “Henry Kirke Brown: New Sources for an American Neo-Classical Sculptor,”
Burlington Magazine 147 (December 2005): 824-826
2004: “Chronologie” section in exhibition catalogue, Pierre Julien, 1731-1804:
Sculpteur du Roi (Le Puy, France: Musée Crozatier, June-Oct. 2004)
2004: Five Hundred Years of History and Landscape Painting [co-translator with Karla
MacBride], 156-page catalogue translated from the German (Historien- und
Landschaftsbilder aus fünf Jahrhunderten, published in 2002 -- Kunstsalon Franke,
2003: Pierre Julien: Sculptor to Queen Marie-Antoinette (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse
2000: Entries in The Dictionary of Art (see 1996) republished in From David to Ingres:
Early 19 th Century French Artists, ed. Jane Turner (New York: St. Martin’s Press)
1999: “The Genteel Tradition in American Painting” [Co-author with Richard H. Love],
American Art Review 11 (March-April 1999): 156-163
1998: The Samuel M. Nickerson House of Chicago: Neo-Renaissance Palazzo and
Private Art Gallery [Co-author with Richard H. Love]. (Chicago: R. H. Love Galleries)
1996: American Winter Scenes of Yesteryear. Exh. cat. (Chicago: Haase-Mumm)
1996: Four entries in The Dictionary of Art (London: Macmillan)
--Pierre Julien, Pierre Mérard, Joseph-Charles Marin, François Lucas
1996: “Sleeping Villagers from Sonnino: An Unpublished Terracotta by Bartolomeo
Pinelli,” Storia dell’Arte, no. 86 (1996): 109-113
1995: “Satyrs, Cupids, Bathers and Dancers: French Decorative Sculpture from Rococo
to First Empire,” in The Smart Museum of Art Bulletin 1993-1994 (publ. 1995): 8-15
1994: “The Image of Ganymede in France, 1730-1820: The Survival of a Homoerotic
Myth,” Art Bulletin 76 (December 1994): 630-643
1993: “Identifying Pietro Cardelli (1776-1822) and His Oeuvre: From the Salon of 1804
in Paris to the Cabildo in New Orleans,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 122 (July-August 1993): 41-50
1990:“Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife by Noël Hallé,” in A Guide to the Collection
(Chicago, IL: The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, 1990): 54-55
1989: “Persée et Andromède de Chinard: une fausse attribution?” Revue du Louvre et
des Musées de France, no. 4 (1989): 249-252
1988: “Catalogue of the Works of Pierre Julien,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 112
(November 1988): 185-204