United States of America
Michael Sell was born in Detroit and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Eastern Oregon University. He is a member of the Society for Photographic Education and the Popular Culture Association, and his artwork and research investigates memetics, the digital/analog aesthetic, and media-centric constructed imagery. His photography has been exhibited throughout Michigan and Oregon, and in select shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Europe. He has presented his research at SPE Northwest conferences in Portland and Eugene, as well as Popular Culture Association conferences in Seattle, Chicago, and Washington, DC.
In 2014, he was an invited speaker and artist at Hobusepea Galerii in Tallinn, Estonia, for which he received a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. Sell is also the chair of the Union County Cultural Coalition, a partner with the Oregon Cultural Trust.
My most glaring coping mechanism is the solace of routine. While the passing of time has become more abstract with the repetition of days spent at the computer, the routine of the day-to-day is manageable with the goal of making photographs always at the back of my mind. These images emerge from the routine; walking outside, household chores, the way the light splashes in through a window, pandemic detritus on the sidewalk. Life’s routine becomes less “something to do” than “something that is,” and these photographs ground me in the present moments in the face of a tenuous grasp on how time is passing.
I sit at the computer and remember the past as good, as different and distant from the stress of the now. Eventually, the present will be good again, and within that new past, these images will remind me of the rare comforts of life during quarantine, of enjoying the life that I have to live.
During this residency, I have explored the frontiers of personal space, family relationships, and the unexplored isolation of outer space. I have also used the past four weeks as an opportunity to engage more freely and openly in my inhibited creative practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing discussions with new acquaintances to direct my work in ways I normally would not explore. While the photographic, collage, and digital video work I created during this time may be far from finished or polished, I will use the experiences gained to further explore the concept of the frontier in ways I had previously not planned.
1981 Detroit, MI, USA
Lives and works in La Grande OR, USA
2009 | MFA in Photography, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids MI, USA
2020 | Ransom 2, Brooklyn Wayfarers, Brooklyn NY, USA
2020 | Presenter, International Conference on the Image, Sydney, AUS
2019 | Presenter, Popular Culture Association National Conference, Washington DC, USA
2018 | Presenter, Southern Graphics Council International Conference, Las Vegas NV, USA
2017 | Identity, Midwest Center for Photography, Witchita KS, USA
Exhibitions, Together Apart
#3 | FRONTIER: results
Artists in dialogue
Frontiers as geopolitical frontiers, as cultural, biopolitical; frontiers as limits and as separations within the artistic disciplines, frontiers as hegemonic considerations of our bodies and identities…were some of the approaches on FRONTIER general theme in the Together Apart Program #3 session.
Through 4 encounters we collectively and individually created ideas and artworks which explored a non-binary approach of the topic. The participant artists also had the possibility to dialogue with Kristina Borg and Liz Ingram & Bernd Hildebrant, international artists and former ´ace artists-in-residence, invited to present their contributions and explorations in relation to the topic. For this session we also gave priority to moments of peer review or collective feedback and to open discussions which drifted through issues of art and therapy, art and research, participatory art, the complexity of artistic collaboration and how collective practice appears to be a right to claim even more in moments of isolation.
Through different theoretical readings and artistic references, and through the proposals of each of the participant artists, we identified the importance of liminal states, the non-binary, we assumed the difficulty of inhabiting the in-between but also recognized that art practice is what allows us to live in ambiguous states and to constantly raise questions. We also explored other practices as breathing techniques, meditation and knowledge and skills sharing as methods to break through discriminative or isolating frontiers.
Using poetry, film, online performances, video art and the creation of a network for artists through the method of “participatory asset mapping”, the artists from this cohort created in search of commonalities in their migrant’s everyday experiences, resonances among the natural conditions of the places they live in, the links among their identities and psychological researches and in search of practical collaborations to continue working in the future.
DANIELA RUIZ MORENO | curator-in-residence