Michael Azgour is an artist and educator whose work addresses the impact of digital imagery on contemporary culture. His paintings combine evocative, expressive representation with geometric abstraction, reflecting upon memory, technology, and change. Azgour’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States and Europe, including 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 Art Market San Francisco and Los Angeles Art Show. His work is part of dozens of collections, including a recent commission by Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Michael has exhibited alongside a number of highly respected artists such as Joan Brown, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and Nathan Oliveira. Azgour regularly delivers public presentations, workshops, and artist presentations, including TEDx Krakow in 2017. Michael teaches drawing and painting courses at Stanford University. His teaching experience has included a wide array of subject matter, primarily in fine arts, but also in graphic design, architecture, arts entrepreneurship, and history of art and design.
“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.” –Kimberly Nichols
Artist Michael Azgour talks about what interests him as a painter and takes us into his studio for a glimpse at his process. Produced by Michał Grzywacz
TEDx Talk: “Capturing change: how unfinished artworks invite active viewers” Presentation by Michael Azgour at TEDx Krakow, Manggha Museum
From the art studio of Michael Azgour, this stop motion video captures the creation of a painting from start to finish. The art piece, entitled ‘Man Walking’ was completed in 2015.
Music by Kevin MacLeod. Special thanks to Boris Suvorov.
“Movement is the translation of life, and if art depicts life, movement should come into art, since we are only aware of living because it moves.” – Arshile Gorky
My recent paintings are inspired by the impact of digital imagery on contemporary culture, referencing moments of transition, the inevitability of change, and the uncertainty of memory. I am interested in developing a visual language that speaks to our current experience of exposure to and integration of new technology, the persistence of traditional values despite changing global trends, and the subjective perception of reality. Together with a strong influence of art history and contemporary themes, my work is informed by a deep rooted interest in social and perceptual psychology, a reverence for color theory, and my personal experiences as a first generation American and living abroad in Eastern Europe.
The experience of living and working between Krakow and San Francisco for the past five years has given me new perspective, markedly impacting the direction of my work. I regularly look to my painting process to address cultural disparities by fusing ideas and imagery from diverse sources. Although we live in a globalized world in which so much is standardized, the customs and values differ immensely from one country to the next. I juxtapose seemingly unrelated elements as a way to exemplify these differences using paint as a form of metaphor or hyperbole. Dichotomies are frequently employed as a way to highlight distinctions. Light emerges from the darkness, the crude becomes delicate, and the abstract becomes real.
We are in the midst of a miscommunication revolution. Although we have the tools necessary, there’s often too much noise for effective conversation. Information and imagery are often viewed quickly and deprived of context, appearing as a sequence of discordant snapshots fired at us from every angle of our daily lives. I reference this phenomenon and its impact on our perception of reality by distorting relationships between people and environmental features in my paintings. My process involves piecing together a coherent representation by combining layers of expressive and geometric applications.
Although I aim to strike a different chord in each painting, there are some common themes that run through the breadth of my work, such as: references to digital photography and video, representation of memories as fleeting recollections, and the notion of individualism. My process of composing works and layering paint while retaining the history calls attention to the divergent paths painting and photography have taken in the past century and allows the viewer to access the process. By visualizing the formation of the piece and providing one’s own meaning, the viewer’s engagement is an essential part of each painting and their interaction brings the work to completion.