Antkowiak’s work explores modernist themes of isolation and alienation via the relationship between traditional painting and contemporary art technologies of digital video and photography. Interested in translating pictorial effects specific to digital media—pixelation, blurring, cropping, over/under exposure, and spatial distortions—into a traditional painting language. This process aims to defamiliarize the familiar depiction of the everyday, and to create a highly tactile and subjective response to a technologically mediated reality. As a result, paintings conflate the dichotomies of closeness and distance, representation and abstraction, narrative and formalism.
Michael Antkowiak (Warsaw, Poland, 1977) is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, and completed his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2003. He has since exhibited in public and commercial galleries in Canada and abroad, including the Queens Museum of Art, in New York City, and Carrie Secrist Gallery, in Chicago, Il. Michael is a recipient of several artist’s grants and residencies, including the Toronto Arts Council Grant and the Vermont Studio Center Fellowship and Residency. Michael lives and works in Toronto, and in addition to his studio practice, teaches as a drawing and painting instructor at OCAD University and the Avenue Road Art School.