In his decades-spanning practice, Michael Dwyer has focused on making abstract paintings that place color front and center. His recent work deploys crisp-edged chunks of translucent color that meander, zigzag, or float through the composition. The paintings are improvisational structures that often reveal evidence of their evolution.
Born in Syracuse, NY, Dwyer holds a BFA from Syracuse University and an MFA from the University of South Carolina. His work has been exhibited in Syracuse, Providence, and various cities in South Carolina. Most recently, Dwyer's work comprised the solo exhibition Swing Set: Paintings by Michael Dwyer at The Goodall Gallery at Columbia College.
"Michael Dwyer does beautifully refined paintings that guide the viewer into an experiential exploration of color and texture. The overall composition is highly controlled with many details being spontaneous surprises."
- Philip Mullen
Both of my parents were artists and my father was a serious painter all of his adult life. Many of their friends and colleagues at Syracuse University were artists, architects, or writers and our home was always a place with big, modern paintings on the walls and jazz on the stereo.
As a kid, I loved visiting my dad's studio. I liked the spattered dishevelment, the smell of paint, and the paintings that I couldn't fully understand, but instinctively grasped, as the works came to life. I knew at an early age that making art was something I wanted to pursue.
A sense of movement has been an important element in my work for many years. Earlier pieces often conveyed a feeling of forms drifting in space. Then there was a shift toward using linear compositions to create direction. I wanted your eye to move along a variety of courses or circuits and have experiences along the way. I also found from my earlier collage work that I liked shapes in my paintings to have crisp, assertive edges, like those that came from using scissors.
Currently, I’m using a lot of masking tape and more often than not, painting with a palette knife instead of a brush. Ultimately, I’m always chasing that transcendent moment where color, shape, and movement come together in a way that‘s thrilling and right.