Mike Solomon

Statement/Biography

MIKE SOLOMON (b. 1956)

Mike Solomon has exhibited widely throughout the United States at museums, galleries, and art fairs. In recent years, Solomon was included in the important exhibition, “Art of Our Time” curated by Matthew McLendon at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida and “Defining Abstraction” curated by Mark Ormond at the Ringling College of Art and Design and had a solo installation exhibition at the Greenville County Museum, South Carolina in February, 2019. 

In a 2015 review, art critic James Croak said, "Solomon’s more controlled grid-like abstraction seems to date from well before the New York School and is anchored in the early Modernism and grid structure of the De Stijl group in The Netherlands. A specific reference would be Piet Mondrian, whose Composition in Brown and Gray (1913-14) or Composition in Line (Black and White) (1916-17) derived from a geometric reduction of landscape would seem to be immediate ancestors.”[i] Commenting on this aspect of nature informing Solomon's art, Helen Harrison, historian and Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center stated, "His art embodies fundamental qualities that he perceives in nature, for which he creates aesthetic analogies. Without imitating those qualities, he captures their essence, pins it down and offers it as a gift to those who take the time to receive it.”[ii]

Solomon studied at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine (1975) and continued his studies at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, Connecticut (1978) where he was influenced by artist Joan Snyder. He spent the rest of 1978 in New York City studying independently with artists Ray Parker and David Budd. In 1979, Solomon earned his Bachelor of Arts at the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied with Charles Garabedian and John McCracken. In 1989, Solomon earned his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College, New York. Additionally, he served as studio assistant to John Chamberlain and Alfonso Ossorio.

Through the years, Solomon has explored a range of subjects, styles, and concepts using various materials from traditional watercolors to roplex and acrylic gels to beeswax. A consistent through-line is his interest in transparency, which is foundational to his work. Solomon‘s exploration of the effects of light penetrating color continues in his recent work made with resin. While the finished objects appear to have only two dimensions, they are constructed three-dimensionally: composites of multiple layers of thin papers painted with watercolors.  Each layer of tinted paper is infused with resin, resulting in a clear surface revealing the color submerged within the solid ‘sheet’ of resin. The chromatic development continues as the artist then paints another piece of paper and repeats the process of saturating it with resin and attaching it to the previous one. Each transparent layer reacts and builds from the one before it.  This cycle is repeated up to a dozen times depending on the intensity of color and composition desired. The finished form is seen through a clear sleek surface of polished resin. Solomon’s labor intensive technique is as unique as its results. "For me, the attribute of transparency exists in both physical and in spiritual realities. Holding on to both, I seek to create a pictorial example; one in which actions are not covered over; "mistakes" are not painted out; one in which all things I’ve done in the process are visible.” [iii] 

Mike Solomon became fascinated with the grid early in his career and it continues to be a central structural element in his paintings and sculpture. Janet Goleas wrote that Solomon’s grids are reductive aesthetically but are not without emotion: “And so, contained in Solomon's grid work are the moments, memories and the small poetries that function at the edges of actuality. That subtle piercing into the fabric of memory is one of the mainstays of his oeuvre.” [iv]

There are compositional variations created by the artist's marks: short horizontal and vertical brush strokes, long plaid stripes, soft hexagonal shapes floating in space (appropriating the “Bokeh effect” from photography), and longer, layered vertical brush strokes. Depending upon the intensity of the colors, paintings in each “mode,” as Solomon calls them, can be soft and subtle or intense and vibrating. As Bruce Helander wrote in the Huffington Post: “Mike Solomon creates beautiful, color saturated paintings that have a built-in grid reminiscent of early Larry Poons geometric accents, which contain an elegant veil of dreamlike mist. Solomon is a tastemaker if there ever was one…”[v]

In 2011, sculptor Alice Aycock chose Solomon for the acclaimed biennial exhibition “Artists Choose Artists” at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York.  His first solo exhibition was held in 1979 at the College of Creative Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, followed by one person shows at the Queens Museum of Art, New York (1988), Hunter College, New York (1989), and the Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York (1999).  In 2001, Solomon participated as an artist and advisor in "Surfs Up," the first show of its kind on surfing culture in New York curated by the late John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton.  Other artists in the show were Richard Prince, Julian Schnabel, Ashley Bickerton, and Michael Halsband. Solomon has also been included in exhibitions curated by Noah Becker, Blair Voltz Clark, Rob Edleman, Mary Heilmann, and Geoffrey Young.

In addition to the Ringling Museum of Art, Solomon has participated in group exhibitions at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York; Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York; Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee; Selby Gallery at the Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; and the Telfair Art Museum, Savannah, Georgia.

Mike Solomon is included in numerous esteemed private collections including those of Edward Albee, Beth Rudin deWoody, Dan Flavin, Jr., Tom and Darlene Furst, Richard Meier, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Prince, and Priscilla Rattazzi Whittle.  Selected public collections include Barnett Bank, Tampa, Florida; Cantor Fitzgerald Collection, New York, New York; Columbia Museum, Columbia, South Carolina; J. Crew, New York, New York; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; and the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.  Solomon has twice been the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2001 and 2012.   He currently has studios on the North Fork of Long Island and in Sarasota, Florida.


[i] James Croak, “Quiet Beauty Whispered in Mike Solomon’s ‘Under Water Color,’” Hamptons Art Hub, June 9, 2015.
[ii] Helen A. Harrison, “Mike Solomon Makes His Mark,” Sag Harbor Express, October 18, 2012.
[iii] Mike Solomon, Artist Statement for “Mike Solomon: Immediate Splendor,” June 1–July 8, 2017, Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, New York.
[iv] Janet Goleas, “Fragrance,” blink.blogspot.com, October 19, 2012.
[v] Bruce Helander, “Multiple Gems at Art Southampton 2016,” Huffington Post, July 6, 2016.

© Berry Campbell

CV 
1975, Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, Skowhegan, Maine
1978, Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, Connecticut
1978, Independent study with Ray Parker and David Budd, New York, New York
1979, Bachelor of Arts, College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
1989 Masters of Fine Art, Hunter College, New York, New York

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina, 2019.
East Hampton Public Library, East Hampton New York 2018.
Alfstad & Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2018.
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, 2017.
Kathryn Markel Fine Art, Bridgehampton, New York, 2015.
Alfstad & Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2015.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2014. 
Salomon Contemporary, New York, 2012.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, 2008.
John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton, New York, 2008.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, 2006.
Greene Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2006.
The Green Barn, Sagaponack, New York, 2002.
Heckscher Museum of Art, Roslyn, New York, 1999.
Ann Harper Gallery, Amagansett, New York, 1996.
Benton Gallery, Southampton, New York, 1993.
Benton Gallery, Southampton, New York, 1992.
Hunter College, New York, 1989.
Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York, 1988.
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1986.
University of California, Santa Barbara, California, 1979. 


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 
Berry Campbell, New York, Artist Insights/ Contemporary Highlights, 2020.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2019.
VSOP Art + Design Projects, Greenport, New York, On the Grid: Contemporary Explorations, 2019.
Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina, A Life With Art | Gifts from Dwight and Sue Emanuelson, 2019.
Gallery Petite, Brooklyn, Oceansize, July 3 - September 16, 2018
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Summer Selections, July 5-August 28, 2018
Berry Campbell Gallery, Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, Palm Beach, Florida, January 11- 15, 2018
Alfstad & Contemporary, Aqua Art Fair, Miami, December 6 - 10, 1017
Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Supreme Friction, June 3 – July 1, 2017
Berry Campbell Gallery, Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, Palm Beach, Florida, January 20 -24, 2017
Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Supreme Friction, June 3 – July 1, 2017
Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, 48th Collectors Show and Sale, November 11, 2016-Janauary 8, 2017
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, Art of Our Time, November 5, 2016 – October 5, 2017
Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Hanging Paper, August 6 - 27, 2016  
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Summer Selections, July 5-August 28, 2016
Art Southampton, Southampton, New York, Berry Campbell Gallery, July 5-10, 2016
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Summer Selections, June 30-September 14, 2015.
Art Silicon Valley, San Mateo, California, Berry Campbell Gallery   October 9-11, 2015
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Something, Curated by Noah Becker, January 7- February 6, 2016.
Art Wynwood, Miami, Florida, Berry Campbell Gallery, February 12-16, 2016.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, Small and Big, January, 2016.
Ringling College of Art and Design, Selby Gallery, Sarasota, Florida, Defining Abstraction, July 10 – August 5, 2015.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, The Lightness of Being: Abstracts: Part 1, May 1-June 13, 2015.
Sara Nightingale Fine Art, Water Mill, New York, 2015.
Hamptons Art Markt, Sara Nightingale Fine Art, Bridgehampton, New York, 2015.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, A Few Great, Big Pictures, May 16-July 28, 2014.
McNeill Art Group, Southampton, New York, Mark Makers, July 4- August 4, 2014.
Dallas Art Fair, Ashley Tatum Fine Art, Dallas, Texas, 2013.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida  Some Wonderful Abstractions, August 15- October 5, 2013.
The 20th Annual Watermill Center Benefit, Water Mill, New York, July 27, 2013.
Hamptons Art Markt, Sara Nightingale Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, July 11 – 14, 2013.
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, Artists & Writers They Played in the Game, June 15 - July 28, 2013.
Sarah Nightingale Gallery Water Mill, New York, April - May 30, 2013.
Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida, Abstract, adj.; Expressing a quality apart from an object, February 21- April 3, 2013.
Fireplace Project, Springs, New York, Inside Outsiders, June 29 – July 16, 2012 (Curated by Mary Heilmann).
Harper’s Books, East Hampton, New York, Open for the Stones, May 26th – June 25, 2012.
Dallas Art Fair, Salomon Contemporary Booth, Dallas, Texas, 2012.
Harper’s Books East Hampton, New York, Group Therapy, April 21 – May 21, 2012.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Artists Chose Artists, August 21 – October 9, 2011  (Chosen by sculptor Alice Aycock).
Islip Art Museum, Islip, New York, Flag Day, June 15 – September 4, 2011.
John McWhinnie / Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton, New York, Local 87, July 2 – September 15, 2011.
Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, New York, Hampton’s Artists: Then and Now, May 5 – June 5, 2011.
Salomon Contemporary, New York, New York, Plank Road, 2010.
McNeill Art Group Project Space, New York, Plastic, Rubber, Wood, October 21 – December 14, 2009.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Sand: Memory, Meaning and Metaphor, June 29 - September 14, 2008.
Scope Hamptons, East Hampton, New York, 
July 24 – 27, 2008.
Anelle Gandelman Gallery, Larchmont, New York, 2008.
Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia , East End Artists: Past and Present, October 17, 2007 – January 6, 2008.
Greene Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, Assemblage, August 3 - September 1, 2007.
Scope Art Fair, East Hampton, New York, July 26 – July 29, 2007.
Salvatore Ferragamo Gallery, New York, New York, Water, February 7 – June 4, 2007 (Curated by Blair Voltz Clark)
Chelsea Art Museum, New York, The Food Show: The Hungry Eye, November 16 – February 24, 2006  (Curated by Rob Edleman).
Spanierman Modern, New York, Long Island Abstraction 1950 to the Present, September 7 – October 28, 2006.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, Hanging Out: A Re-visitation of Summer 2006, September 10 – October 7, 2006.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, October – December, 2005.
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, People, Places And Things: Works from the Collection, April 2 – May 15, 2005.
Remy Toledo Gallery, New York, Then and Now: Hampton Artists, â€¨March 31 – April 16, 2005.
Hampton Road Gallery, Southampton, New York, Works on Paper, March 6 - March 17, 2005.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Recent Acquisitions: Framing the Collection, September- December, 2004
Hampton Road Gallery, Southampton, New York, Fresh Paint, 
September 11 – October 11, 2004.
Milk Gallery, New York, Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing, July, 2004 (Originated at Laguna Museum of Art, Laguna, CA, traveled to Honolulu Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii), 2004.
The Work Space, New York, 
September 19- November 16, 2002 (Curated by Leslie Heller)
Glenn Horowitz Bookseller East Hampton, New York, The Sea, May 25 – June 24, 2002.
Glenn Horowitz Bookseller
East Hampton, New York, Surf’s Up: Pop Culture and Beyond,
 July 14 – August 16, 2001.
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, The Global Village: 9 Artists of East Hampton, April 14 – May 27, 2001.
Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey, traveled to Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN, Waxing Poetic: Encaustic Art in America, 1999.                                                                         
Staller Art Center, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY, South Fork Artists, 1995.
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, Young Blood, 1993.
O.K. Harris
New York, New York, Centennial Biennial Invitational, 1991. 


SELECTED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
Edward Albee
Beth Rudin deWoody
Barnett Bank, Tampa, FL
Michel Berty
Cantor Fitzgerald Collection, New York, NY
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
Dan Flavin, Jr.
Tom and Darlene Furst
Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY
J Crew, New York, NY
Richard Meier
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Prince
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
Pricilla Rattazzi Whittle


AWARDS
2001 Pollock – Krasner Foundation Grant
2012 Pollock – Krasner Foundation Grant