“We are delighted that Michael Mallard is kicking off this program for us,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf, Ph.D., said. “As a South Georgia native, he is an asset to the museum and to this community.”
“It’s something I’ve never done before,” Mallard said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Working on his art in a high-visibility setting will be new for Mallard.
“This is brand-new territory for me,” Mallard noted. “I’ve always had a very private studio. Painting in public is a new thing, but it’s a good experience. They’ll see my failures as well as my strengths. Some parts of the painting won’t work so well, and I’ll be struggling to bring it together. Some things I’ll have to paint over because they don’t work in the painting. They’ll see the process, and they can ask questions and make comments.”
Wulf said the artist-in-residence program will benefit both the public and the artist.
“The introduction of an artist-in-residence program follows a special trend in museums today that is all about leveraging the work of all types of artists, from young to mature, and giving them time and space to work in a safe, well-lit studio at the museum,” Wulf said. “It supports their development in the arts.
“Most importantly from an educational point of view, it gives visitors, as well as the artists, ample opportunities to interface and for the artist to share their process, their story with everyday museum visitors.”
Friday, June 11 was Mallard’s first day working in the AMA studio space, where discussed his work with students from an ASU summer art camp who visited the museum. The campers saw Mallard apply the first brush strokes in months to an untitled painting that he started early last year.
“When COVID came, I didn’t go into my studio,” he said. “Today is actually the first day I’ve painted on this piece since COVID.”
While he may also do some drawing in the AMA studio, Mallard said his immediate plans are to focus on painting.
“I’m looking forward to painting, to getting some painting accomplished here,” he said.
Describing his style as Post-Modernist, Mallard brings an unusual amalgamation of experiences, ideas and thoughts to his work.
“Our lives are sort of a motley assortment of experiences,” he said. “These experiences unified in a single life interact with other individuals’ experiences, thereby enlarging each assortment of experiences. A sort of ‘layering’ of meaning develops in each life.
“I approach my work as it represents our lives: layers of meaning developed through time. This compilation yields the excessive quality of my work. I address rather simple ideas that become complex through visual presentation.”
Mallard has exhibited in group or solo shows at the AMA; Andrew College; the Laissez Faire Gallery in Columbia, Tenn.; Union University in Jackson, Tenn.; Freed Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn.; Davison Gallery at Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, N.Y.; Spiers Gallery at Brevard College, Brevard, N.C., and others.
Originally, the plan was for Mallard to have an exhibition in the Hodges Gallery in spring 2020. The COVID shutdown forced the AMA to make changes to its exhibition schedule. Wulf suggested that Mallard set up a studio at the museum and become artist-in-residence.
“I want to invite people who want to see my work or just watch an artist paint to come in,” Mallard said. “It doesn’t have to be a silent thing. They can wander in. They can come in and see the work. They can watch me work. It’s something different you have an opportunity to do here in Albany.”