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Silence; They Chanted of Nothing that was to Be, painting by Michelle Lee Ghison

Michelle Ghisson lives and works in Erie, PA. She was initially trained as a painter, earning her BFA, MA and her MFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Ghissons work is included in the permanent collection at Ednboro University of PA. She is currently working in her studio where she is using familial artifacts that she embeds into her work by layering items of antique threads and fabrics with oil paint that she mixes to a thick impasto and trowels on with various tool she makes herself. Recently Ghisson has begun to scar the canvas and "mend" with antique threads from her various family member. Her work is said to be, "Breathtaking" "Trans-formative" and "Meaningful"



It Has Taken Her a Long Time to be Ready, painting by Michelle Lee Ghison


Lee Ghisson

My work is driven by a constant examination and preservation of personal memories. My paintings describe these moments, the details of which are imparted in layers of paint.

Most recently I've been thinking of the word "Impermanence" and what or how that idea can be embedded into my paintings. How are memories preserved and how do these recollections sometimes form confusing or false memories?

After the actual experience of particularly very painful moments, our very existence relies often on changing and molding the memory into a more palatable or manageable one, something we can cope with better, understand and compartmentalize. I consider these recollections as layers of information, each level imparting bits of knowledge crucial to our consciousness, our ability to cope and even as a means of understanding our own mortality. This information and the concept of "Impermanence" comes to the surface and either sticks or fades away to different levels of opacity.

Many times in remembering, I have personally buried the ugly and preserved the beautiful as a way of coping. I believe that I have created the same process in my art.

When I am painting, the progression of remembering a specific moment over and over again from actually experiencing the event or sense from some unexplainable source helps structure the paintings. Some areas will be recognizable, while others will fade away into abstract thoughts of textures, forms, and colors.

Other information I recall while I work has a deeper and unexplainable place that it comes from, call it intuition or instinct, these are all moments that I see as my truth unfolding onto a canvas.

The surfaces of my paintings are very important to me. Color is also another significant element and is very specific to the actual memory. The process of scraping away layers of the oil paint and building them back up again is something that has added another level of information to consider in relationship to the act of painting and the concept of working from memories.

Scarring or incising into the canvas, cutting, mending, adding found objects of antique thread and fabrics all contain a special meaning and relate to the preservation of my personal memories