Artist Profile: Michelle Louis

Painter Michelle Louis creates abstract work inspired by the natural world. We spoke with her about the intersection of science and art, and her interpretation.

 

Michelle Louis at work on Indigo Utopia, 63”x 43” acrylic on canvas

Michelle Louis at work on Indigo Utopia, 63”x 43” acrylic on canvas

 

ABI:  How does your interest in science and nature inform and inspire your body of work?

ML:  For me, art-making, like science, is about curiosity. It’s about discovery and engagement. I’m intrigued by the flow and energy of natural processes; how mountains move, how sap rises, how ants colonize. Uncovering and understanding the “hows” of science enhances my artist’s perception of the world around me.

 

Morning Light, 43”x 67” acrylic on canvas by Michelle Louis. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

Morning Light, 43”x 67” acrylic on canvas

 

My work is the outcome of deep affinity to the environment. It unintentionally resonates with places, seasonal patterns, dynamic forces and changes. Non-representational painting as documentary to the algorithms of nature is valid as a kind of scientific data. It chronicles my instinctive experience. Work emerges in the moment, not to recreate landscape or thoughts, but as synergetic, non-objective marks that become a record.

 

How the Garden Grows, 36”x 48” acrylic on canvas by Michelle Louis. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

How the Garden Grows, 36”x 48” acrylic on canvas

 

ABI:  You state that your studio process is unplanned. How does a painting evolve for you?

ML:  I don’t begin with a sketch or specific thought, but with being open to the emergence of something unexpected, unexplainable. I love the excitement of facing a large-scale, blank canvas. The problem-solving that occurs between what is and what comes next reflects nature’s alchemy and that’s where I engage. Nature is unpredictable and still largely cryptic in spite of our many discoveries. What we understand is based on repeated patterns, methods, and materials. My work is that kind of process. It’s active. It arises symbiotically, holistically, in repetition. I don’t feel the need to tell the viewer what or how to think about it. It is simply a map of points in time that leads to the “presence” of a finished piece.

 

The Scent of Rain, 32”x 28” acrylic on canvas by Michelle Louis. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

The Scent of Rain, 32”x 28” acrylic on canvas

 

ABI:  What types of activities fill your days as a full-time artist?

ML:  The foundation of my art practice, meditative walking in wild, natural places, is a daily must. It builds the palette from which everything else, especially studio time, flows. Yes, I make art almost every day. But less glamorous aspects take up more time than people imagine-  updating my website, connecting with collectors and galleries, exploring prospective exhibition opportunities, research, packaging and mailing work to collectors, prepping canvases. I also write a blog on nature and art for my website.

 

Cartographic Mind, 32” x 55” acrylic on canvas by Michelle Louis. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

Cartographic Mind, 32” x 55” acrylic on canvas

 

As a formally trained artist who’s also a naturalist, I experience art and nature as integral to self and community. So my studio extends to the spaces outside my door, where I’m composing a permaculture landscape. I also create impromptu environmental pieces in situ while on the trail.

 

Sky with Clouds, 42”x 69” acrylic on canvas by Michelle Louis. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

Sky with Clouds, 42”x 69” acrylic on canvas

 

My artwork, whether indoors or out, asserts kinship in nature. Every day I think about honoring vestigial connections to the natural world. By acknowledging our interdependence we begin the work of repairing fragile relationships and ecosystems.

 

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