Michael Pfleghaar received his MFA in visual arts from Lesley University College of Art and Design, Boston, MA in 2011. Modern and contemporary design objects, architecture, botanicals, and interiors inspire Pfleghaar’s colorful representational and abstract paintings and drawings.
At a basic level, my practice has always centered around documenting my life. Early on I realized how the things we choose to surround ourselves are a reflection of self. Inanimate objects have always been surrogates for the figure in my work. I tend to compartmentalize the elements in my compositions and thus create a conversation between objects. Mid-century modern design has influenced my work significantly as I collect design items from that period. Simple, clean lines, balance, and organic materials are characteristic of modernism. I approach my compositions as a design process similar to that of a product designer.
The work straddles between objective and abstraction, with early paintings depicting scenes of representational still life and interior subjects. During Graduate School my work shifted to complete non-objective imagery. I often revisit the natural world through depictions of botanical and still life objects while bringing abstract elements to the work. Flattening space and objects, mixed media, and masking are examples of techniques I applied from the abstract work to my representational pieces.
His artwork has been featured in Arcadia Magazine, Studio Visit, Metropolitan Home, Solace, and American Craft. Apple, CBS, ForeSee, Hayworth, and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts are a few of the organizations that have utilized Pfleghaar's artwork as illustrations.
Recently, Pfleghaar attended the Spread Art Artists Residency in Detroit, MI and in 2013 was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Ox-Bow School and Artists Residency in Saugatuck, MI. His work was included in the 2012 LGBTQ exhibition ReMix: Revisiting Appropriation, curated by Jonathan Katz in San Francisco, CA. His original artworks are in permanent collections including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens, and Sculpture Park, Steelcase Inc., Herman Miller, the State of Michigan and Grand Valley State University.
Podcast Interview: Bechiri, Holly, "Getting to Know Michael Pfleghaar" Light Conversations, https://www.lightgallerygr.com/podcast/s2e1michael-pfleghaar-3hlmt June 6, 2019
Interview: Skudder, Laura, "Chicago: An Interview with Artist Michael Pfleghaar" Canvas Saatchi Art. https://canvas.saatchiart.com/the-other-art-fair/chicago-an-interview-with-artist-michael-pfleghaar November 19, 2018
2011 MFA, Visual Arts, Lesley University College of Art and Design, Boston, MA
HONORS AND AWARDS
2020 Grand Prize Winner, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo, MI
2018 Mana Contemporary, The Other Art Fair, Chicago, IL
2016 Spread Art Residency, Detroit, MI
2013 Joan Mitchell Foundation Ox-Bow School of Art Fall Residency Scholarship, Saugatuck, MI
2012 SOMArts, ReMix: Revisiting Appropriation, curated by Jonathan Katz, San Francisco, CA
2012 Muskegon Museum of Art, Annual West Michigan Regional, Best of Show award, Muskegon, MI
2011 Zhou B. Art Center, National Wet Paint Exhibition 2011, Chicago, IL
2011 Grand Valley State University, Multi Media III: Alumni Invitational, Alendale, MI
2007 Lansing Art Gallery, Fire and Mud Statewide Clay Competition, Best of Show, Lansing, MI
2006 Rapid Central Station, Art In Transit, Purchase Award, Grand Rapids, MI