Michael Biddle - Narrative Statement 2015
I studied art in Vienna and London at the Central School of Arts and Crafts after completing military service in 1958. In l961 I attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture where I studied fresco painting and received the fresco award. My first interest was printmaking and I did many etchings and lithographs showing a humanistic point of view. Living in New York in the early 1960’s I did freelance magazine illustration and cartooning before turning seriously to painting and printmaking.
In 1964 I received a residency award to design a mosaic mural for the Skowhegan School and spent the summer there, doing a second large fresco painting as well. In l971 I taught fresco painting at the Truro Center for the Arts, and spent a summer teaching fresco at Skowhegan in l975. I began teaching printmaking in 1967 at the School of Visual Arts and the Pratt Institute, and eventually started at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1972 where I taught full time from 1989 to 2005. I was Chair of the Fine Arts Department from 2003 until my retirement in 2005.
In the 1980’s I became interested in computer graphics and received a New York Foundation for the Arts grant for work I did with computers and printmaking. Around that time I also experimented with found object assemblage, projecting computer images onto large sculptures.
Turning back to printmaking and painting, I produced a series of large monotypes in the early 1990’s. The paintings done in the ‘90’s gradually became abstract images related to organic forms, often using restrained color and heavily applied paint. More recent work has shown a greater sense of control, and I’ve worked and shown extensively in watercolor and silverpoint. Many of my paintings have been shown in venues in Westchester over the last several years, including Maxwell Fine Art in Peekskill, the College of New Rochelle where I received the Gallery Director’s Award, The Art Exchange in White Plains, and The Silvermine Guild of Artists where I received the Revington Arthur Award.
Most recently I have worked in fresco on small individual wall paintings. I am experimenting as well with three dimensional aspects of fresco, designing a modular work of fitted shapes and representational sculptural pieces that will have a painted surface. I am currently completing a large painted obelisk, using cement board panels attached to a steel armature.