CLOSE ENCOUNTERS by Michael Haggiag

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7 – 26 April 2016

Michael Haggiag is a filmmaker and producer as well as a visual artist. He founded Global Arts Productions in London to make art films for Sotheby’s and went on to make award-winning drama and documentaries for the UK and international markets. Three years ago he moved back to New York after a lifetime of living and working in Europe: “It was a Rip Van Winkle experience,” he says. “ The America I knew as a boy had of course disappeared but a sense of familiarity lingered that I could almost touch.”

Michael’s artwork explores the tension between the familiar and the unknown; the ambiguity of near and far; the interplay of representation and the abstract. “The more familiar we are with our surroundings,” he believes, “the less likely we are to actually see them.” His images contain the strong geometry and colors we often see in abstract paintings, but they also make us feel the intensity of every day objects and surfaces:

“My photos are abstract but they start from mundane reality: walls, pavements, metal siding, bark. It’s this reality that provides the touchstone for each image”

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS follows three exhibitions in Italy in 2015. Although similar in theme, the present show is mostly new work and displayed in a different key:

“The Ca’D’Oro New York gallery space is a fantastic opportunity to work on a large scale. At the same time I always want my pictures to be as tactile as possible. Printing on canvas and metal as well as paper has allowed me to create new composite works using multiple imagery.”

The photographs were taken in many places around the world including London, Rome, New York, California and Mexico. Yet this collection is as much about the process of seeing as it is about what is seen. The British journalist and fellow Zen practitioner Bruce Ginsberg reviewed an earlier exhibit in these words:

”Michael Haggiag surfaces are framed absorption moments that leave our senses dancing within their natural rhythms. We sense that it is the same experience his own absorption brought him.”

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