Mychaelyn Michalec is a fiber artist and painter working in Dayton, OH. Her work depicts the mundane matters of domestic life; translating documented scenes of domestic life into textiles using both mechanical and hand tools. The work is an observation of what we choose to focus on and how those choices shape our lives. It is an examination of the gendered issues of caretaking addressing both invisible labor and emotional labor. What does it mean to be both artist and mother? Women are disadvantaged by the lack of comprehensive narrative to their own intellectual history. We have as Virgina Woolf bemoaned, “the accumulation of unrecorded life”.
Michalec earned a BFA with distinction in Painting and Drawing and a BA in Art History from The Ohio State University and a MLIS in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has shown her work internationally, and has been awarded residencies at The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts Residency in New Berlin, NY, and The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, in Nebraska City, NE. Michalec is a 2021 recipient of an Individual Excellence Award in Craft from the Ohio Arts Council.Her work has been published in Friend of the Artist, Create! Magazine, and Art Maze. A review of her two person show, Femme Maison at Houseguest Gallery in Louisville, KY, was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Currently a solo exhibition of her textile work is showing at The Dayton Contemporary.
My work depicts ultramodern matters of domestic life. Using my cell phone, I covertly photograph my life, making drawings from the photos, and translating those images into art. I am influenced by the artist Alice Neel who said, “when portraits are good art they reflect the culture, the time, and many other things”. I am fully aware that I am using technology to document the people around me who are clearly distracted themselves by technology. But I am interested in what we choose to focus on and how those choices shape our lives.
Technology has become a part of our relationships. It influences how we interact with one another, where our attention lies, how our bodies are bent, and how we communicate. Similarly, technology has influenced our depiction of domestic life. Social media has idealized family life, but I try to illustrate moments of both simultaneous disconnect and connections. In an era of curated Facebook feeds highlighting the best in family life, there is a saccharine image of family life at odds with the distractions of the digital age. It was the artist Fairfield Porter who said, “Love is paying attention”. His work was always about attending to the experience of looking. This is what I consider while viewing my own home life through the screen of the phone, framing up those moments first through a 3 x 5 inch screen and then through my drawings and paintings.
Recently, I’ve been using the domestic craft of rug tufting to recreate scenes of domestic life. I was looking for a way to amplify the domestic aspect of these scenes. I discovered through an online search, industrial rug tufting guns that electrically inject yarn through canvas, accelerating the traditional process.Through the use of the tufting gun, I not only mirror the rapid pace of technological change, but also its concomitant loss of connection. Just as many of our personal relationships have become mediated through electronic devices, so, too, has my relationship with the materials of the work, leaving an uneasy feeling that we’re sharing only the simulacra of real connection.These rugs are then stretched and hung as paintings. These pieces reside within the realm of both domestic and fine art. Just as I, both as artist and a parent reside between the sometimes conflicting world of being a mother and an artist.
Visit mychaelynmichalec.com to see more work.
Connect with her on Instagram.
About Artdose Talks
Artdose Magazine’s mission is to connect and support the visual arts in Wisconsin. Due to these unprecedented times, we have created other platforms to connect with artists in the U.S. In late March, we introduced our version of online artist talks called Artdose Talks with Frank Juarez, publisher.
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