Michael Azgour | Artist
Michael Azgour is a contemporary figurative artist whose paintings contemplate the space between perception and reality, peering into our reliance on imagery – such as those used in mass media, advertising, and social media – as factual representations despite their fallibility to deliver the truth. A Native of California, he is known for large, expressive compositions which combine multi-layered and divergent painting styles, such as painterly figuration and geometric abstraction.
Azgour’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia, such as solo shows at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, CA and Hohmann Fine Art in Palm Desert, CA, as well as art fairs such as SCOPE NYC, Los Angeles Art Show, and Seattle Art Fair. His work is part of renowned collections around the world, including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. Michael has exhibited alongside a number of renowned contemporary artists and regularly delivers artist presentations, workshops, and panels, including recently at TEDx Krakow. Michael teaches drawing and painting courses at Stanford University.
“Azgour’s works are expressive and geometric abstractions informed by an involved process that combines a strategic, realistic technique with pattern and repetition and the muse of accidental surprise. His figures seemingly float with one foot firmly planted in the present while the other wafts into the past. Paint becomes pixel, blur or distortion mirroring the disconnected snapshots and video clips that populate our social media profiles. He challenges the viewer’s interpretation by combining unrelated imagery in the same composition. Although the disparate visuals and juxtaposed compositions appear random, they are in fact bits of narrative from the artist’s own life and travels.” – K Nichols [more]
Based on the idea that our perceptions are abstract representations of the truth, this series references the gap between the real and the perceived by combining disparate imagery and painting styles and effectively distorting the spatial relationships between people and environment. These paintings depict moments on the verge of change in which semi-coherent narrative is used to embody a larger span of time and meaning. Transparency and masking reveal layers of paint, highlighting the art-making process as a subject in itself. The works are often partially incomplete, compelling the viewer to engage with the work in an act of their own creation, thereby completing the work.View the Paintings
The first phase of a brand new collection of paintings, these large-scale paintings are inspired by personal stories from people I’ve encountered while living abroad. Expressive abstract-figurative compositions draw from remarkable events as individual histories are illuminated by paint on canvas.View the Paintings
Works in this series explore the ubiquity of photography in contemporary culture and the changing role this has played on individual experience. I refer to images as a way to peer into our collective experience in a fast-paced digital world. My process of composing works and layering paint calls attention to the divergent paths painting and photography have taken in the past century as fine art mediums.View the Paintings
As a California native, currently living and working abroad, this series is a somewhat nostalgic look at the Pacific Ocean, the energy of crashing waves, and the people who interact with it on the shore. Through my travels in Europe, I’ve discovered the serenity of lakes and rivers whose banks carve into the land in novel and enchanting ways. Movement, light, and color—and the passage of time—are major themes in these works.View the Paintings
In a world where society is integrating new technology at an escalating rate, I’m interested in the psychological impact of constant adaptation, using painting to reference moments of transition, the inevitability of change, and the persistence of tradition despite pressure to adapt to evolving values. I’m also very interested in looking at time as a subjective element, identity, and the uncertainty of memories.View the Paintings
This series speaks about how we interact with images today by referencing features found in the disconnected snapshots and video clips that surround our lives. I reference the pixilation, motion blur, repetition, distortion, and ambiguity inherent in the images we come across daily by using the medium of paint on canvas. I’m very interested in the power of photography to capture the psychological state of an individual and the way visual cues can suggest a sense of place and mood. By combining realistic painting techniques with distortions in space, surface and style, I’m questioning the viewer’s perception of the basic components of representation.View the Paintings
Influenced by photography and the numerous ways images enter our personal space, my work examines how we see the world through the multifarious facets of reality and virtual reality. I use simple geometric patterns together with expressive applications of paint to represent the distortion of digital photography and the lack of clarity our memories provide. By pairing a variety of images together in seemingly incongruous ways and abstracting form in favor of ambiguity, my work attempts to challenge the viewer to create their own narrative.View the Paintings
My intention in this series was to create a space which breaks from reality, constructs a new perspective, and touches upon universal human truths. To abstract from reality is to create a metaphor, one which becomes coherent only after being combined with the viewer’s pre-existing library of symbolic imagery. In this realm of the subconscious, figurative and abstract elements combine with preexisting perceptions and archetypes to evoke sensations beyond that which aesthetics can provide. I’d like to invite the viewer to explore his/her own existence through the imagery depicted in these paintings.View the Paintings
"These are paintings that invite one in and reveal depth of feeling and interest. For me, I see something new each time I look at one of Michael’s paintings. They are warm and peaceful if one is merely walking by without focusing on the painting. However, they also provide interest and depth should anyone stop to examine the paintings." -- Susan T., Collector