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Michael Nalley: To Find Meaning

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MSU OMAS Recipient of the “MAGpie Award”
Michael Nalley: To Find Meaning

Closing Reception / Friday September 28 / 5-7pm

The Murray Art Guild is honored to present the work of Michael Nalley. Nalley, a senior BFA student in Art & Deisgn, College of Humanities & Fine Arts at Murray State University, is the 2018 recipient of the MAGpie Award. The award is presented by MAG each spring during the Department of Art & Design’s annual student art show, the OMAS exhibition. His piece from the student show, which according to Nalley won him the award, is in this exhibition: “The Divine Revelation: Innocence Martyred.” Nalley is from Evansville, Indiana. His studio emphasis is in printmaking.

Artist Statement:

Meaning is derived through personal experience and a socially ingrained dogma.  My work serves as an outlet for that existential introspection, as well as an exploration of metaphysical ideas through a nihilistic lens, stripping down such derived meaning.  Formally my pieces use narrative scenes to explore themes of a life without meaning or one in search of true meaning, giving these characters form through lithography and screen printing.  The absurd and nihilistic themes serve as the metanarrative to the pieces, always ingrained in the background of each scene that is depicted.

The nihilistic and absurdist themes in my art are heavily influenced by the works of Albert Camus, most notably The Stranger.  A book that directly questions and refutes traditional morality, looking directly at what it means to live in a world without innate meaning or purpose.

My work shows detailed scenes out of a man's life, set in a pseudo-Victorian setting.  I use the time periods conflict between religion and secularism as a metaphor for the collapse of derived meaning through faith as rational thought consumes ideas of faith and the reliance of such frameworks for moral direction and meaning.  Formally my pieces focus on physical forms, characters acting in a Victorian environment in narrative scenes, using nihilistic themes as the metanarrative underlying the tale. My influences come in the form of Francis Bacon, who also explored themes of existential awakening and dread, as well as Andrew DeCean who uses detailed scenes to break down the everyday human experience through very inventive printmaking.

My artmaking is a tool in which I explore the absurd, and quantify a world without meaning.  I use narrative scenes, snapshots of life without meaning, to give visual form to philosophical ideas.  Taking inspiration from both the written word and more traditional artists. Creating art that is more focused with telling bits and pieces of a story, using existential dread and decay as a backdrop for a man's journey through life.