Michael in the Studio, photo credit: Will Morgan

Philosophy

I expect my students to understand the conventions of painting and drawing in order to subvert them.  My own studio practice, rooted in the modern traditions of painting, drawing and printmaking while exploring contemporary ideas of abstraction serves as a model for my approach to teaching. I push students to explore the boundaries and limitations of their media as well as their conceptual thinking.  The introduction of the formal elements of media - color, light, line, gesture - acts as a springboard for investigating larger ideas.  I challenge my students to ask themselves what it means to be an artist today - that is, what it means to see and respond to the world in a decidedly visual way.  I ask students to work in a responsive way to the things that move them, to find their authentic voice.  Throughout my classes, I work closely with my students to develop a vocabulary of a visual language that is uniquely their own and challenge the meanings they create. 

As I see it, the teacher's primary task is to understand who a student is as an individual and to help them give voice to their particular interests, ideas and inspirations.  I spend a long time listening to a student, trying to understand who they are in order to engage them in a dialogue with myself, their peers and artists of the past to better understand where the potential lies in their work.  Rather than simply demonstrate how something should be done, I like to present questions and possibilities.  A teacher, I believe, should act as a guide, a positive and challenging force. When a goal is set and reached through struggle, questioning and personal decisions, the student gains confidence and grows as a result. When the target is close and easily reached, the teacher is there to help move it back. An artist, alone in the studio has to learn to ask difficult questions of themselves in order to move beyond what is known to him already.  Good teaching prepares a student for this daily practice in art and the sustained, studio investigation that is a life in creating, searching for answers to those questions.

teaching

2000 - present     Professor of Art (Full Time, Tenured): Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

Undergraduate Courses Taught: Foundations of Painting • Oil Painting • Painting IV • Special Topics in Painting: Media Exploration, Color and the Painted Image, New Genres in Painting • Painting the Figure •
Advanced Figure Painting • Inter-Media Studio • Foundations of Drawing • Advanced Drawing: Process and Content • Issues in Contemporary Art • Senior Studio • Visual Arts Thesis

2012 - 2013     Alumni Mentor, Painting Department, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

Responsibilities: Graduate studio visits and guest critiques over the course of an entire academic year allowing a student-mentor relationship to develop as the students work progressed; Delivered a lecture on my painting and drawing along with fellow Alumni Mentor, Sarah Walko; Undergraduate course and studio visits; Participation in Painting department Open Studio events; Developed a Master Print series with the help of SCAD Director of Printmaking, Eun Lee, the print shop technical staff and selected students in the Printmaking Department.

1997 - 2000     Professor of Painting (Full Time): Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

Graduate Courses Taught: Formal Aspects of Painting
Undergraduate Courses Taught: Abstract Painting • Advanced Life Painting • Advanced Painting • Color and the Painted Image • Intermediate Painting • Landscape Painting • Large Format Painting • Life Painting • Oil Painting • Senior Seminar
Foundations Courses Taught: Color Theory • Drawing 1 • Drawing 2 • Life Drawing 1

Administration:

2017 - present   Chair, Visual Arts, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

2016 - 2017      Program Director, Visual Art Studies, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

2005 - 2014      Program Coordinator, Visual Arts Studies, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

Achievements: Development of assessment rubrics and practices of Visual Arts classes, student development and overall program performance • Academic advisement • Faculty adviser to the Art Society (a student-run organization) • Curriculum development of Foundations and BA programs • Creation of the BFA in Visual Art Studies Degree Program • Creation of the RWU Art on Campus Program to exhibit faculty, student and regional art • Creation of the Emerging Artist Program in conjunction with regional High Schools

workshops

2016     A Deeper Dive into Painting, Artist's Association of Nantucket 

             Mondays, July 29 - August 15, 9AM - 1 PM

2015     Oil Painting and Abstraction Workshop: Artist's Association of Nantucket

2014     Oil Painting Immersion:  Nantucket Oil Workshops

2014     Drawing Nature: Artist's Association of Nantucket

Student Work Gallery

Foundations Drawing, Foundations Painting, Advanced Drawing, Intermediate Painting, Oil Painting, Inter Media Studio, Senior Studio