Commonwealth and Council

The Chromedian

Lucas Michael


Commonwealth & Council presents The Chromedian, an exhibition of sculptures by Lucas Michael that continues the artist’s on-going sessions with the multiplicity of the self, the architecture of codified desire, and more recent investigation of chromological order and panpsychism.

In chromological order:

Audentes Fortuna Iuvat (2011) is a trophy upon untrophy upon entropy. It champions the notion of winning as an atemporal state and a state of mind. By crushing a silver plated trophy cup, Lucas deflates its symbol of triumph. This re-plated double void vessel now rests on a base of polished steel as a non-battle casualty. An ode to failure, the mirrored surface of the work reflects all colors while simultaneously lacking its own due to its own chemical property.

Red, Yellow, Blue (2014) is a black triptych about color. Michael conveys the notion of color with black—color as an idea, an adjective—independent of its optical property. These triptych drawings address becoming objecthood through the material property of graphite and its reflective/obscuring surface en masse. Under their polished surfaces are words, schemes, quotes, and charts etched into the ground of the paper as if they were carved graffiti on a wall. Apercus Addendum (Red) charts, quotes, and plays with The Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson’s novel in verse, which itself is based on, quotes and reinterprets Stesichorus’ ancient poem Geryoneis. Manya (Yellow) traces the history of Yellow Fever in North America and addresses the use of yellow dye in medicine and food (we are what we eat). The title refers to the nickname of Peñarol, an Uruguayan soccer team that the artist as a child associated the color through its striped yellow and black jerseys. From Aechnar to Spica (Blue) begins with a carved sentence on the top left and ending on the bottom right that reads “THE PRIDE OF MY SHAME.” Names of blue stars are only referred to in the title while actual symbols of stars are drawn around a list of un-virtuous words associated with the color (and in this way elevating their nominal status).

Redress (2015) is a site-specific neon work placed next to the door that mirrors its shape while rendering itself useless as such. A door that it is not a point of entry nor exit, but perhaps a point of departure—a passageway leading to nowhere, but turning the wall into a sculptural portal. Its specific color creates an association with sex-clubs and red light districts, transforming the exhibition room itself into an architecture of sublimation. 

Le Trap (2015) is named after a former Parisian sex club. This soft sculpture on canvas is painted with the off-the-shelf Behr Paint Colors Voodoo and mirrors both the shape of the entryway and psychic dimensions of Redress. With each altering mimesis in color and materiality, Le Trap and Redress incite a triangulation between the mundane and the profane with the architectural layout of the space.

Lucas Michael (b. 1965, Buenos Aires) holds a BFA in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, a certificate in Documentary Photography from The International Center of Photography, and an incomplete prior education in the “dramatic” arts which informs his multidisciplinary work in drawing, sculpture, video, and performance. After 18 years in New York, he lived in Los Angeles for 10+ years where he co-founded Artist Curated Projects with Eve Fowler. In 2010, Michael returned to New York where he currently lives and works.