The Pink Show at Castelli Art Space
November 30 – December 3, 2017
5428 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA. 90016
Michael Flechtner uses neon and glass, heat and touch to create whimsical statements. Michael’s imagination has no boundaries and needs just the right amount of spark and gas to come alive. –Carlos Iglesias
I was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, my early artworks were emotional expressions stemming from the predictable and unpredictable traumas of growing up in lower middle-class America. As I’ve matured and become educated I have tried to stay away from the larger political and philosophical issues. Instead, I have come to believe that wisdom and respect begin with a knowledge of one’s self and that the individual is every bit as complex as the civilization in which they live. Change begins with the smallest unit and I believe that happiness is success.
After graduate school in 1985 I pursued training in neon fabrication. At that time it was considered a dying craft. My continued use of the this material and the teaching of neon techniques not only further its use in the fine arts, but also helps to preserve this difficult and amazing craft for future generations.
Neon, more properly luminous tube, has been my medium of expression for nearly a decade. It has replaced the paint and sculptural materials I used as a student. I’m ever mindful of the compelling nature of this pure, colored, glowing light and the tendency of many to see “all things neon” as signage or kitsch. It is my experience that the more traditional viewer and critic resist seeing neon as a fine art medium.
My work reflects a fascination with the symbols of language, technology and how they influence popular culture. I describe animals, machinery, etc. and utilize various forms of language. The various “components” inhabit my internal landscape. I bring forth and arrange this highly idiosyncratic material to create pictograms, ideograms and rebuses, surely the effects of my unconscious. Through the creation of these pieces I work through and process personal issues and attitudes. Each piece is a complete record of that process. In spite of this focus on my “inner self”, this work is for everyone. To that end the figures are recognizable and the compositions are “pleasing to the eye.” And if the viewer wants more, they can apply their own meanings and interpretations which I feel are as relevant as my own.
Because many of the pieces are so enigmatic, I post an interpretation. Often the viewer has overlain their own meanings. Because of certain psychological theories, I believe their ideas and interpretations are as pertinent and valid in this exchange as mine.
I do not enjoin others toward a path to perfection, instead I endeavor to live my life consciously in the hope it will become a passive example to others trying to find their particular path. Hopefully the form of my work, not content, will suggest a framework for others. My goal is to continue along this path, passing on method and information. I believe that my work offers the viewer a new way of codifying the world and locating themselves within it. Through the exchange between artist and viewer, we become a little more comfortable to question, enjoy and suspend, even if only for a moment, the struggle we all face in everyday life. –Michael Flechtner