Bus Fire (2010)

I had the feeling that Michael Stickrod is somewhat of a 21st century neo-Romanticist when I saw his assemblages. A dusty postcard, a half-torn hotel letterhead scribbled with messages, a used pencil from his mother, handmade knives from his father, Michael saves everything that has personal value. These personal mementos quietly meld into his palette for producing work that’s full of vivid narratives. Before I got to know Michael personally, I was curiously drawn to his assemblages showing at the group show Untitled at NP Gallery. His story is particularly strong because each object – though casually pinned on the cork board – had gone through many places and cycles of time. The way the artist chose to light these artifacts using a single warm lamp almost feels as if we’re looking through his eyes. Yet these clues are not enough, many pieces of the puzzle are still missing.

Coast to Coast (2010)

A result of his travels and family ties, these assemblages are also evidence of the journeys that he went through. When I first met Michael, the first thing he told me was that he’s been traveling for the past two years and he’s still going. A lot of these collected objects are related to his parents, as in “Vacation Money” (below), a documentary short film – a monologue – about the artist’s mother before her death, compiled from old family videotapes. I asked him if it was hard to look at the videos again and he said that it’s a bit strange to hear her voice. But nonetheless we watched through a series of his family tapes with him telling me lots of interesting stories that all gets naturally woven into his works of art. After going through a bit of Michael’s personal timeline, his assemblages begin to make sense as it bonds closely together with his video documentaries.

Michael Stickrod’s assemblages are on view at NP Gallery from September 10 – October 16, 2010

Photos: Carissa Pelleteri