Sara Baker Michalak
I developed an artistic practice in expressive design, surface treatment and fine craft while completing an undergraduate Fine Arts Program in Textile Processes. As a practicing artist early on, I made contemporary abstract tapestry. Though the textile arts allow for a wide range of possibilities, I felt increasingly constrained by it. My work grew to include other 3-D processes along with painting, drawing and collected ephemera. The major artistic movements of the 20th century and the increased importance of multicultural perspectives became influential for me. As environmental issues entered more and more into daily discourse and became a focus for artists, I entered the Interdisciplinary (Geoscience/Humanities) Graduate Program at SUNY Fredonia. Coursework and readings there led to subsequent creative exploration and my current mixed media works that reflect an interest in the beauty and ephemerality of the natural world: the fluid forces within and around the tangible and firm.
I combine, collage and layer imagery that I photograph, draw and paint, then continue to develop with subtractive techniques - sanding, washing, scraping, etc. The final works convey my impressions of growth, decline and return: landscapes of time and place. Additionally, I focus on dramatic environmental change - whether it be caused, especially, by human activity or other factors, with a focus on the Western New York State/Great Lakes Region.