Michael Pfleghaar

Michael Pfleghaar

Grand Rapids, MI, United States

About Michael Pfleghaar

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



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

2005 Governor Granholm Residence, Governor’s Residence Michigan Artist’s Exhibit, Lansing, MI

2005 Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Loeschner Purchase Award, Grand Rapids, MI

2003 Grand Rapids Art Museum, Festival, Purchase Award, Grand Rapids, MI



2020 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo, MI

2019 LaFontsee Galleries, Preserved!, Grand Rapids, MI

2019 Frauenthal Center Reception Gallery, Preserved!, Muskegon, MI

2019 Alden B. Dow Museum, 58th Annual Greater Michigan Art Exhibition, Midland, MI

2019 Muskegon Museum of Art, 91st Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition, Muskegon, MI

2019 Gallery Uptown Walberg Gallery⁣, Se7en 4 May 19, Grand Haven, MI

2019 Ann Arbor Art Center, Art Now: Painting, Ann Arbor, MI

2018 Janssen Artspace, Permanent Vacation, Palm Springs, CA

2017 Harris Building, Presereved!, Grand Rapids, MI

2017 LaFontsee Galleries, Presereved!, Douglas, MI

2017 Muskegon Museum of Art, Annual Michigan Regional, Muskegon, MI

2016 Muskegon Museum of Art, Annual West Michigan Regional, Muskegon, MI

2014 Saugatuck Center for the Arts, The Lake Effect: Contemporary Art at Ox-Bow, Saugatuck, MI

2013 Lesley University College of Art and Design, Objectified, Alumni Exhibition, Cambridge, MA

2012 Eastern Oregon University, Meaning to Glue, La Grande, OR

2011 Boston University, Boston Young Contemporaries, Boston, MA

2011 Lesley University College of Art and Design, MFA Exhibition, Cambridge, MA

2011 Grand Valley State University Art Gallery, Multi Media III Alumni Invitational, Allendale, MI

2010 Boston Public Library: Grove Hall, Transitional Spaces: Art, Design and Architecture, Boston, MA

2010 Muskegon Museum of Art, Annual West Michigan Regional, Muskegon, MI

2010 SOMArts, CHRONOTOPIA: The Past, Present and Future of Queer Histories, San Francisco, CA

2010 Sloan NYC, Mobile Uploads, New York, NY

2010 Tanglefoot Studio, ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI

2009 Dezart One Gallery, Forever Modern, Palm Springs, CA

2008 Pacific University, Physical Culture, Forest Grove, OR

2008 Fact & Fancy, Wet Paint, Brooklyn, NY

2008 Leslie/Lohman, Art Actually, New York, NY

2008 ARTspace, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, One and Only, Sheboygan, WI

2007 Dezart One Gallery, Fabulous Fusion, Palm Springs, CA

2006 Dezart One Gallery, Modern Magnetism, Palm Springs, CA

2005 Gallery Project, Eastside/Westside, Ann Arbor, MI

2004 Lowell Area Arts Council, Janus: Traditional & Contemporary Fiber & Clay, Lowell, MI

2002 The Nines Gallery, A Figurative Moment, Douglas MI

2001 Muskegon Museum of Art, Century 2: New Glass and Painting, Muskegon, MI

2000 Vesuvius Gallery, Organically Grown, Glenn, MI


2018 Creston Brewery, New Botanicals, Grand Rapids, MI

2017 Light Gallery + Studio, Paint and Pixel, Grand Rapids, MI

2016 Spread Art, Detroit, MI

2014 Kendall College of Art and Design, Shifting Landscapes: Selected Works by Michael Pfleghaar, Grand
Rapids, MI

2012 Grand Rapids Art Museum, MFA Thesis Exhibition: Reinforcing Objecthood, Grand Rapids, MI

2008 The Nines Gallery, Modernscapes – Near the Edge, Holland, MI

2007 Baber Room, Park Library, Central Michigan University, Complex Identity, Mount Pleasant, MI

2006 Forest Hills Fine Arts Center, Artist in Residence Exhibition, Grand Rapids, MI

2005 Dezart One Gallery, Contemporary Allegory, Palm Springs, CA

2003 Absolute Gallery, Absolute Pfleghaar, Lansing, MI

2000 The Creole Gallery, Living Large: Interior Works, Lansing, MI