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The Labyrinth Beyond Time

10/12/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

“To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.”  Marcel Duchamp. Much as the Dada Movement artists were on the cutting transitional edge between “pasture pictorials” of the early 1900s and Surrealism, so is local artist Michele Bledsoe walking the edge between altered concepts of consciousness and what we think of as our reality. Her figures dance, crawl, creep, and jump through and across her canvases keeping their viewers fixated on the smallest details in-between and posing the questions, “Are we ever going to find it?  And if we do, what do we do with it?”

Michele grew up in Sayreville, New Jersey. As a child, she spent hours searching through the pages and illustrations of classic literature, as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, both rich examples of our imaginations running wild through the corridors of the mind. “What if?” young Michele would think, “What if I too could capture the wild wilderness of my own imagination on paper?” This was a goal she set out to accomplish. She filled tablets with sketches and ideas that bound through her imagination. Creatures great and small would eventually be rendered in paintings as she taught herself the techniques. By all accounts, Michele has been successful on all fronts. Today, she paints in her home studio in Central Phoenix, her canvases supported on an easel her father gave her for Christmas 25 years ago. His passing a few months later added an extra portion of meaning to his gift and confidence in her, as well as Michele’s inspiration.

Michele, over the last 20 years, has exhibited in various art galleries and venues.  Recently, she was invited to participate in an art show, at Skolkovo Art Gallery, in Moscow, Russia. The exhibit featured a number of international artists involved in the Remodernism Movement. As Michele would put it, “Who would have believed my painting “Forever,” a painting of a snail, is the one piece, out of all my work, that has ironically traveled furthest!” Michele is also the author and illustrator of her first published book, The Secret Kingdom. The success of this book led her to create the cover art and interior illustrations for Lemon Bee and other Peculiar Tales, by Patricia Lynn Dompieri. Currently, Michele is working on her second book, an enterprise that is anxiously anticipated by her many young readers.

In the spirit of “wild wonderings” through the land of one’s imagination, Michele is a volunteer drawing instructor for inner city children in downtown Phoenix. She is a firm believer in using the most basic materials, pencil and paper, to guide her young students in bringing their interior and exterior worlds alive in shades of graphite and sharply rendered lines. After all, an original, insightful drawing of inspired work is a creation motivated by desire. Each young artist must find his or her own way with the knowledge that drawing is the foundation from which to jump. One of Michele’s joys is witnessing this inspiration with the children in her groups.

Michele Bledsoe’s work is fun, fresh, intuitive, and captivating. To view a selection of her paintings, visit http://remodernamerica.com.  There you will also find schedules, reviews, and contact information for purchasing her work. Michele’s books can be viewed and purchased online through Amazon.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.