NJ DISCOVER FOLLOW-UP: ON THE NJ ART ROAD: MICHAEL MALPASS, SCULPTOR; NEW EXHIBIT AT ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS ART COUNCIL SAT. APRIL 8TH by Calvin Schwartz
Back last June, 2016, I wrote a special article on the late sculptor Michael Malpass. It was quite a story of synchronicity in the universe how I discovered the artist and his work which was being exhibited along with a biographical documentary at Monmouth University, Pollak Gallery. Yes, I was totally overwhelmed with the depth and introspection of Michael Malpass.
The focus of this article is to let you know what I discovered last year in Michael Malpass’ extraordinary body of work and legacy and to let you know (the flyer at the bottom of article) that a wonderful new exhibit is taking place at Atlantic Highlands Art Council.
Here is an excerpt from my article (the entire article available here: http://www.njdiscover.com/wp1/2016/06/on-the-nj-art-road-michael-malpass-sculptor-exhibit-at-monmouth-university-by-calvin-schwartz-6-21-2016/ )
“I walked towards Pollak Gallery and noticed magical spherical (Malpass’ specialty) sculptures on the grass to my left. Walking on the grass, towards the sculptures, observing their artistic splendor, I was now frozen, staring, haunted by the intricacies and detail of his work; one cast in stark celestial red. The anticipation of the exhibit was peaking for me. Fortunately, they extended this exhibit until August 18th because of the demand/volume.
There is a wealth of information on Michael Malpass; let google walk you through it. My job here at NJ Discover is to share how his work emoted and elevated me; hyper sensitized my powers of introspection. It was quite an experience. Perhaps my arrival at 3 PM that afternoon, a gallery off hour, guaranteed my time of solitude and meaningful observation. I’ve been to the Pollak gallery often, sometimes in conjunction with special musical shows and lectures at Pollak Theater. There’s something about the stark white walls, displays, and frames contrasted by the art. For me, it’s a sense of sterility and eternity (art for the ages).
There were the Malpass’ sculptured spheres. He often said, “The sphere is the most perfect form. It is efficient, for example, with the most volume for the least surface area.” There were also his prints, collages and jewelry. I read that his art is a “revitalization.” For his welded spheres, now in front of me throughout the gallery, I saw that he used things that people discarded and changed them by recycling them into his mind and sculpture. For me, it evokes unique emotions in every piece. I can’t say/write it enough. This is so worth trips of many miles and minds to see in person. I marvel at great minds and creativity. I marvel at Michael Malpass.
I stopped in front of a sculpted sphere called ‘Squiggly.’ I day-dreamed that I was in the studio with him while he created it. We were laughing together. Then he got serious and ushered me away. I loved, ‘Traveler’ one of the most imaginative and perfect world of unions and coming together of form pieces. It seemed so many stories were being told here; a perfection of function and form so simple yet intricate. He was traveling and encountering so many foreign objects but made them(welded) in a smooth statement. He must’ve travelled far and wide to bring the ‘ingredients’ together. More sculpted magic of Michael Malpass. With each exhibited piece, I imagined and wondered about his mind and thought process during inception. So many questions to ask him. It’s a rewarding feeling to leave an art exhibit with unrequited love of the works of the artist. Each piece told me a story. It’ll tell you all stories.
There was a magical collage, ‘Grass and Water.’ Of course I stared and tried to find ways to jump inside. It’s hard to explain visual emotions. The reality of a can of sardines, some money, olives and a local map; there’s a special frivolity here and a New Jersey breath of especially fresh air; Point Pleasant Beach on a receipt. And there is the ‘Chickenmen Gallery.’ I could go on here expressing, digressing, progressing but you have to see it for yourself; there’s plenty of time until August.”
MICHAEL ALLEN MALPASS 1946-1991
Michael Malpass was one of the most respected sculptors of the 20th century.
Michael studied Fine Arts at Pratt Institute. His career commenced in 1977 when he had his first solo exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery on 57th Street in Manhattan. Just two years later Michael found his work on the cover of ART news Magazine.
He primarily explored the sphere using found metal objects. Applying traditional blacksmithing techniques, he literally manipulated tons of steel. The industrial shapes are composed of iron, steel, brass, bronze and copper that were forged and welded together to form the sphere.
Throughout the eighties his career flourished. He accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his sculpture and accepted increasingly challenging commissions, including those from General Electric, Exxon/Mobil, Trammel Crow Company, Benenson Developmental Corporation and TRW.
In 1987 Michael left his full-time position at Pratt Institute to concentrate full-time on his sculpture. This was a leap of faith since we were raising four children. He had many exhibitions and commissions in New Jersey including The Noyes Museum, The Paterson Museum, The Morris Museum, Ocean County College, Stockton College, Island Heights Cultural Center, The Educational Testing Service, New Jersey Institute of Technology, State of the Arts – NJ Television, Artworks/Trenton, James Yarosh Gallery (Holmdel), Laurel Tracey Gallery (Red Bank), Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts, Grounds for Sculpture, Clifton Art Center & Rutgers University. The year before his death in 1991 he was working simultaneously on four different commissions from The State of New Jersey, The State of Connecticut, The Hechinger Collection & Exxon/Mobil.
Michael was a pioneer scraping pieces of metal and transforming them into art.
Cathleen Malpass email@example.com
The flyer: Perhaps even try to get to opening night of the exhibit.