I am an artist who has traveled through stories of mermaids, angels and fairytales for many years. I present them using figurative abstraction with rich jeweled surfaces.
I had never seen a black mermaid depicted in art history and became inspired to start a series.
The mermaid summons people
to explore their own watery depths
and create in a world that is
magical and boundless.
~ Mel Wells
Michelle Muhlbaum has been flirting with folklore for most of her career. Angels, gods, goddesses, princes and creatures of legend have made up the body of her work. This trend is continued in her recent collection of drawings.
These drawings are edited to the “essentials”, her background is only the grey toned paper; the mark-making restrained to the glowing marks of graphite and white pen or muted color. Pattern-making, always a hallmark of her work, is the way she achieves form. This form is attenuated, stylized and although recognizable is not striving for reality; much like the meta-idea of a fairytale.
~ Bridget Lynch
Director Trustman Art Gallery, Simmons College
Mermaids, like angels are symbolic characters; although human in features, they remain otherworldly. I had never seen Black Mermaids in art history. I wanted to portray them as the nobility of mermaids, giving them a place of honor.
Working on toned paper with ink and graphite pencil, I began this series of work. For the present time I have left the colorful palette of my fairy tale imagery, to focus on detailed simplicity.
My mother and child series began soon after I had my son. I loved the way women held children on their hips, leaning to one side. The way parks and outdoor spaces became the everyday agenda, the interpersonal relationship between parent and child.
Three pieces from my Mother and Child Series are included in the Children’s Hospital Fence Art Project and Brookline Commission for the Arts. Two pieces can be seen at Pearl Street going towards Brookline Village T-Stop. One piece is located at Route 9 and Brookline Avenue.