Michael Reafsnyder’s painterly abstractions convey a sense of delirious happiness. Although they look like the product of spontaneous gestural painting, Reafsnyder’s works are in fact carefully crafted to convey their sense of frenetic energy, each brushstroke, thick swath of acrylic, or vibrant color deftly deployed in the creation of an overall sense of manic exuberance. Falsely conjuring the Action Painting of Abstract Expressionism, Reafsnyder’s bright canvases are often more playfully sarcastic and confrontational than lyrical. He uses super thick layers of acrylic paint on canvas and arms himself with plastic blades - never brushes - to create deep, saturated abstract pieces that are laborious, well-thought out and carefully composed.
acrylic on linen
11 x 14 in.
27.9 x 35.6 cm
“Reafsnyder’s works couldn’t be more contemporary. Comprised almost entirely of aggressive smears of screaming yellow, electric blue, re-engine red, and pure white paint squeezed straight from the tube, these whiplash images make Impressionism’s rapidly dabbed surfaces look like fussy Old Master compositions. Jazzed up by an occasional skid of purple or black, they also recall Willem de Kooning’s classic canvases, whose furious surfaces look as if they’ve been chiseled or carved in some kind of transformative frenzy. For viewers, this simply means that Reafsnyder’s art is a pleasure—even a joy—to behold. After all, it causes you to smile, and then returns the favor by smiling right back at you.” -David Pagel
“He casually mentions that he often feels inspired by that Renoir quote, “Only the painter who knows his business can create the impression that a picture was done in one stroke.” I happen to believe that he isn’t only inspired by these words, he is also their contemporary embodiment.” -Maria Brito
Accolades + Collections
LA Times Reviews by David Pagel and Christopher Knight Artforum,”Best of” by David Hickey
Harvard University Art Museum
Laguna Art Museum
Las Vegas Art Museum
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego