Michael Sell: Paleography
March 17 - May 6, 2012
Curated by Lucy Van Sands Seeburg
The world is but a perennial movement. All things in it are in constant motion–
the earth, the rocks of the Caucasus, the pyramids of Egypt–
both with the common motion and with their own.
Stability itself is nothing but a more languid motion.
– Michel de Montaigne
Five years ago, Michael Sell moved from the east coast and settled in Bolinas. Perched on a tectonic ledge jutting into the Pacific Ocean, the town is connected to the North American continent by a short length of the San Andreas Fault. The oil pastel-on-paper works exhibited here are the artist’s response to living amidst a sort of geological car crash, surrounded by cliffs, sea stacks, mountain ridges, reefs and rocky beaches, all incrementally inching across and against each other. The drawings explore various ways in which the mass of rock is fracturing, coming apart or coming together, recalling geological forces, unstoppable erosion, continental drift, and the occasional faint trace of human activity.
The work of Michael Sell has been exhibited in New York City at the Rizzoli Gallery and Jason McCoy Inc., at the McMurtrey Gallery in Houston, The Museum Bank Gallery in Los Angeles and the Century Gallery in Washington, DC.
Born in southern California in 1952, Sell studied at the Art Center College of Design in the 1970’s and graduated with honors. He moved to New York City in 1978, and six years later to a farm in Pennsylvania, where he lived and worked for twenty-four years before returning to his home state in 2007.