Mychaelyn Michalec: From a basement on a hill August 6-October 24, 2021
Opening August 6, 2021, The Contemporary Dayton is thrilled to present the work of Oakwood resident Mychaelyn Michalec’s, embroidered “drawings” and deeply textured tufted rug “paintings”.
In an ironic evolution of sensibilities, the primary ideas in Michalec’s work concern themselves with that which nearly stopped her practice nearly ten years ago: The commonplace aspects of domestic life and raising children. Realizing both the poetry and utterly relatability of the images culled from her days, she has turned the things that seemingly marginalized her from her art practice into a prolific vocabulary.
As a mother and an artist, Michalec seemingly resides between conflicting worlds. In reaction, she now creates images that mirror this tension by illustrating moments of simultaneous disconnection and connection, choosing to focus on and how those choices shape our lives, often depicting people in a shared space preoccupied by different things.
Using her cell phone camera, Michalec covertly photographs her family at home while they are preoccupied with their phones, laptops, or gaming devices. She couples these images with often awkward “selfies” taken during routine household chores and other repetitive tasks.
In Michalec’s reckoning, our relationship to technology has become inseparable from our relationship to the world. Just as many of our personal relationships have become mediated through electronic devices, so too has our relationship with the materials of artmaking. To emphasize the uneasy feeling that we’re sharing only the simulacra of real connection, Michalec translates photographs into drawings, small embroidered works, paintings and tufted rugs.
Michalec’s love of needle work has led her to use the tools and materials of domesticity to assert the validity of “women’s work.” In fiber arts, the identity of the maker is coded in the work not only by the choice of materials and subject but also the long histories of the processes by which the work is created. In this practice, Michalec participates in this trajectory through a process of rug tufting and subject matter of contemporary domesticity, combining issues of feminine aesthetics, craft, and cultural value
*This work was made possible in part by an Artist Opportunity Grant funded by the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District and administered by Culture Works.