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November 5, 2018

Mike Egan _ Where Death Goes to Die solo exhibition

Anno Domini // the second coming of Art & Design is proud to present:

Where Death Goes to Die by Mike Egan.

Mike Egan (b. 1977, Pittsburgh, PA) returns to Anno Domini for his third solo show with a new body of work that expands his aesthetic by bringing abstract elements into his signature art brut style. The resulting effect of his gradient tonalities adds a vibrancy (perhaps a hopefullness?) to his otherwise stoic stance on the ultimate inevitability of death.

"2018 has me feeling like I'm at a bit of a cross roads in my career as an artist. I wanted to create a body of work for this show that was new and fresh but still screamed “Mike Egan did that!”. I've never been one that is experimental with color and I wanted to change that. The idea of drawing the viewer into a painting with color always appealed to me. With using new colors for me like purples and aquas and using the gradient colors I feel like these new paintings really pop. Another shift is the size of the work that I'm doing. I wanted the paintings to have a commanding presence in the gallery. Although I still have the themes of death and dying running through my work I'm hoping that people find joy and happiness with how fresh and bright everything is. The title “Where Death Goes To Die” is kind of me saying forget about the sadness and death aspects of my work and maybe focus on the new graphic qualities and colors that I'm using. I'm still alive, moving and growing as an artist!

"I am a Pittsburgh based artist who received my BFA at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2000. I focused on printmaking at the time which is where I learned about artists like Jose Guadalupe Posada and the German Expressionists like Kathe Kollwitz. After I finished school and returned home I did not have the necessary supplies to continue making my prints, so I turned to painting so I could keep making art. While I wanted to be an artist I felt having a day job that I found interesting was important. I had discovered that there was a mortuary school in Pittsburgh where I could get licensed as a funeral director/embalmer. I knew nothing about the business or what I was getting myself into. I went to school for a year and followed that up with an internship for another year. I learned how to do removals, embalm, do restorations, dress and casket people, do the cosmetics and assist on funerals. I continued to paint and made a lot of bad art. I eventually got a job as an embalmer out in Reading, PA in 2005. Between four locations we did 500 calls a year, so it was a busy time for me. The hard thing about being an embalmer is that you're on call when someone dies, so I spent a lot of time alone in my apartment waiting for the phone to ring. This is where I learned to craft my paintings and style. I thought back to my printmaking days in 2000 and how I loved the bold line work I was doing. So I started to paint in that style and things started to click for me. In 2006, a friend of mine put together a gallery show in Pittsburgh and included my paintings. I sold three the opening night and thought I'm doing something right. I've been working with galleries all over the U.S., Canada and the UK ever since." ~Mike Egan, 2018 A.D.

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