Wednesday 15 June 2022
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Many artists find a niche and stick with it, but some particularly talented individuals find success across a range of mediums. Providence artist Michael Ezzell is equally adept at creating paintings, prints, and murals with a unified and recognizable voice. In a recent exhibition at the Imago Gallery in Warren, a recent series of paintings on intricately shaped panels showcases another facet of his creative acumen. His latest work is a reminder that Ezzell is one of the most promising minds of a younger generation of Rhode Island artists.
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Originally from the Midwest, Ezzell earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia in 2014. Today, Ezzell resides in Rhode Island and has established himself as an indispensable member of the creative community. Embedded in the local artist scene, he has also developed a broader following for his signature creative vision.
The key motif that unites Ezzell’s work is the iconography of myth. Greek and Roman gods often appear in his paintings. Its aesthetic is fluid and linear. Ezzell credits a fourth-grade literature project with sparking an interest in such symbolism, which has guided him in his artistic practice. Last year he traveled to Greece for the first time to find inspiration and content for future artistic endeavors.
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A selection of Ezzell’s work is on view at Imago Gallery in Warren, where he is a visiting artist, until July 10, 2022. In the gallery, newer panel paintings in the form of amphorae are reminiscent of the old tendency to tell stories on ceramics. Ezzell’s palette in the series is reminiscent of the type used on the vase paintings that inspired him. The collection is remarkably imaginative and unusual. Imago opening hours are Thursday 3pm-6pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm-6pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm.
When asked how he hopes visitors will experience the work he is showing at Warren, Ezzell says, “My work is so much about changing stories and creating new worlds. It invites viewers to momentarily escape into new realms of imagination and a distorted sense of reality.”
In addition to his panel paintings, Ezzell has expanded his portfolio with a growing number of murals. A recent collaboration with The Avenue Concept brought a number of his colorful murals to Woonsocket. In the East Bay, Ezzell has completed murals at two restaurants. Providence residents can find his work on a broad wall next to Blick Art Supplies on Wickenden Street, and can also frequently see Ezzell’s hand in the rotating stained glass windows on Frog and Toad’s Hope Street. Other murals adorn the facade of the Tiny Bar in the Jewelry Quarter and a wall at the Westwey Club downtown. Ezzell was also recently selected as one of six artists to complete murals for the newly renovated Davey Lopes Recreation Center. To put it simply, he’s productive.
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Speaking of the connection between his mural painting and the art he creates in his studio, Ezzell explains, “Color was probably the biggest influence. While I tend to have a more limited color palette, my murals introduced me to a broader spectrum of color that has crept into my studio work.”
Although increasingly known for his public works, Ezzell has already made a name for himself for his talent as a veteran graphic designer. Ezzell creates images using traditional engraving techniques, utilizing line, design and texture to bring characters to life with vivid detail. In his short-lived studio at Nicholson File in Providence, Ezzell maintains his press. In addition to his panel paintings, visitors to the Imago Gallery will also find two fine examples of his prints.
The artist community at Nicholson File has become a support system for Ezzell. Speaking of the Valley Arts District space, the artist says, “Ever since I moved into the Nicholson File studio space four years ago, I have felt so welcome and supported by my family there. When you work with such talented artists, there is an energetic charge.”
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Ezzell is not only an active artist in the local scene. He’s also an emerging talent on the rise. Following his career, art enthusiasts will discover a dedicated and multi-talented artist poised for success.
When asked what’s in store for him, he describes a busy future, saying: “I’ve been invited to do a solo show in the alumni gallery at my alma mater’s museum, SCAD, so I’ll be spending this summer through early fall to be creative new work for it. Then I will travel to France for a two-week stay, where I will spend some time finding out what’s next.”
Learn more about Michael Ezzell on his website at www.mezzell.com
Michael Rose is a multi-talented art professional from southern New England. Since 2014 he has been the gallery manager of the historic Providence Art Club, one of the oldest arts organizations in the country. Through his current freelance work, he advises collectors and artists, assesses, teaches, and conducts curatorial projects.
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