Current Exhibition

Michael Velliquette: The I in Sight

Fri, May 3, 2024 → Sat, Jun 29, 2024

  • Opening reception: Fri, May 3, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Michael Velliquette

Gold. The rich color of sunshine, honey, pollen, and precious metal. A hue that invokes ideas of wealth, vitality, suppleness, and radiance. Such are the qualities of Michael Velliquette’s dazzling new series of three-dimensional paper works, a collection of monochromatic square canvases that explode with thousands of ornately hand-cut shapes—eyes, flowers, tear drops, mandalas, human silhouettes, and outstretched hands—alongside a series of new metal sculptures all rendered in stunning, flowing waves of gold. The I in Sight is an apt title for this collection, whose various entries recurrently reveal the paradox of seeing or witnessing: a primary sensory mode of apprehending the world shared by billions of living creatures that is also indelibly marked by the unique, idiosyncratic singularity of every “I / eye” that looks.”

This paradox is captured in the simplicity of seemingly universal, iconic forms, marked by thousands of meticulously executed cuts, punctures, and carvings implemented by the artists’ skilled hand. In the first entry to the series, Field of Vision, numerous almond shaped eyes, flowers, and small mandalas repeat across the expanse of an open square canvas with no set pattern; each is crafted out of multiple layers of vibrant golden paper laminated into three dimensional, or heavily embossed, forms. These forms are frequently punctured with holes of varying sizes, some cleanly cut, others textured with incredibly tiny slices that add texture and shading. Thus, every iconic form is marked by complete individuality, demanding that we recognize particularity and distinction even in what appears as a singular ocean of golden shapes. The field of vision, Velliquette reminds us, is always vast, multi-dimensional, and filled with recurrent forms, but none are ever quite the same, nor witnessed identically by any given eye.

- Excerpt from “Life Embossed: Inhabiting Michael Velliquette’s Kaleidoscopic Vision”, by Ramzi Fawaz, Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Michael Velliquette is internationally renowned for his intricately crafted works in the medium of paper. His works are exquisitely crafted by cutting, rolling, folding, and layering paper into complex dimensional tableaux. Their dazzling degree of texture and detail display a mastery of skill he has developed over the past two decades working with the medium. His newest monochromatic sculptural constructions are built up in shallow relief with gold metallic paper imbuing them with a glimmering sheen and which make them appear from certain aspects self-illuminating. In this new series, Velliquette also revisits a lexicon of imagery used in his earlier work, including eye and hand motifs, to represent sensory experiences such as sight and touch, as well as more contemplative phenomena such as seeing and feeling. These will be presented with his first series of free-standing metal sculptures constructed in corresponding shapes and motifs.

Artist Bio

A leading voice in the current renaissance of paper-based arts, Michael Velliquette has mounted recent solo exhibitions at the David Shelton Gallery and the Duane Reed Gallery in St. Louis. Velliquette’s 2023 solo exhibition, titled The Direct Path, at the Contemporary at Blue Star in San Antonio was selected by Glasstire as one of the Top 5 exhibitions of the year. In 2025 he will launch a solo exhibition at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum in Austin.

Velliquette’s work has been included in recent group exhibitions such as Shanghai International Paper Art Biennial organized by Paper+ Studio and Shanghai Fengxian Museum; Global Paper at the Stadtmuseum in Deggendorf, DE; The Possibilites of Paper at the Torggler Fine Arts Center in Newport News, VA; Open Hands: Crafting the Spiritual at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art in St. Louis, MO; Paper Fascination at the Gustav Lübke Museum in Hamm, DE; and the Cheonju Craft Biennale in South Korea. His work is in the permanent collections of the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI; the Racine Art Museum, WI; The Progressive Corporation; The John Michael Kohler Art Center; and The Microsoft Collection.

He has participated in residencies and cultural exchange programs including the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence; the SIM Residency, Reykjavik; Iceland; the John Michael Kohler Art/Industry program; the Vermont Studio Center; EUARCA, Kassel, DE; Kloster Dornach, Basel, CH; and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. His work has been featured in Colossal and The New York Times. In 2021 Velliquette appeared as a judge on the Discovery Channel competition series "Meet Your Makers Showdown".

Velliquette is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, he conducts courses on the Paper Arts at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft, the Pocosin School of Fine Craft, and the Penland School of Craft.





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