Arts & Culture

Michael Kagan – Higher Places

August 22, 2017

Michael Kagan is a Brooklyn-based artist who is known for his eclectically heavy brush strokes in sharp primary colours, and his love for contradictions in his work.

About Michael Kagan

Michael Kagan gains fame and recognition for a reason. His way of painting attracts attention. How can it not? He immerses his viewers with a whirling wind of colours hauled into the canvas. It is rare for elements that are so different from each other to melt together so elegantly.

Yet, Michael Kagan successfully combines historic, technological and scientific subjects – showcasing images of humans pushing the limits of what is possible, with slightly coldish blue tint and bold brush strokes.

His oil paintings are also highly praised for its ability to highlight the tension between the snapshot-like quality of frozen instants of explosive motion – such as a rocket launch, and the slow process of painting.

There is also an element of surprise when one attempts to examine his works closely. As one observes what appears to be a representational painting closely, the surface dissolves into an abstract composition of aggressive brushstrokes.

Michael Kagan believes a painting is perfect “when it can fall apart or it can come back together depending on how you read the image and also how close you are.” Hence, to stand further back from the image is an attempt to understand it.

His unique approach has resulted in collaborations with Pharrell Williams and his Billionaire Boys Club, series of commissions based on the archives from The Smithsonian, as well as the cover artwork for the White Lies’ album.

Higher Places

Like his other works, “Higher Places” focuses on images of humans – astronauts and space explorers, pushing the limits of what is possible.

Originally painted with oil on linen using aggressive and forceful brushstroke technique, “Higher Places” is a classic example of Michael Kagan’s signature visual language. A language that depicts a balancing abstraction from up close, and a technical representation as a whole.

We find this peculiar interactive technique very interesting. It allows the works to “fall apart or come back together depending on how you read the image and also how close you are”. See it for yourself.

What do you think? Isn’t the bold blue tone strokes, and its underlying representation and abstraction lovely?

If you agree with us, share and pin the picture below with your friends 🙂

Photo credit: Michael Kagan

Till next time, city walkers!


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