Michael Divine

Writings: On My Artwork

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These pieces contain thoughts and reflections on individual paintings that I’ve made. If you are looking for some deeper understanding of my own take on some of my work, where it comes from, or what inspires it, this is a good place to start. Enjoy!

What It Looked Like From Here: Tiananmen Square, June 5, 1989

Tiananmen Square: What it Looked Like From Here

In 1989, I was 13. In the second grade, we’d done drills in grammar school where we knelt against the wall of the school hallway with our heads between our knees because if an atom bomb fell then that was, apparently, the best position to be in (ha! as if) because the Russians were at war with the United States but it wasn’t an actual war it was a Cold War and that the threat of nuclear war loomed large in everyone’s minds. China was an even bigger mysterious behemoth. But by the late 80s it seems that tide was […]

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The Bricklayer’s Dream

Every painting I make is this months-long meditation on an idea or melody or a feeling. Each moment and movement – every visual motif and swath of color – is a thread that should be relative to the overall storyline. In some paintings, like Only Love Can, the threads lead to the highest most beautiful moment I can feel that has ever been felt (within the boundaries of the vision). The painting becomes this ever rising aria of light and beauty and love and joy and, ultimately, it’s…

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5 Tiny Visions

This Saturday, July 7th at the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles is the opening of a show called “Tiny Visions”. Alongside the pieces below are works from Violet Divine (my amazing wife), Martina Hoffmann, Allyson Grey, Radhika Heresy, Dan Cohen and a bunch of others (maybe two dozen other artists?) Small (tiny) paintings like this allow for a kind of intimacy of the experience. One can imagine it at 4 or 5 feet tall but instead they are these delicate little portraits of dream-like ideas and core moments. HopefulAcrylic/Canvas4″ x 4″ ParsiflyAcrylic/Canvas7″ x 5″ ThoughtfulAcrylic/Canvas5″ x 5″ In the BeginningAcrylic/Canvas6″ x 4″ […]

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Commissioned Portrait: “A New Perspective”

“A New Perspective” | Acrylic/Canvas | 15″ x 22″ A collector of my work, Eben Pagan, commissioned me to paint a portrait of him in my style. I don’t do a lot of portraiture so I enlisted Violet’s help and we worked together on this painting. She is more adept at creating from real life than I am. In that way, we tend to meet in the middle as my approach generally builds up from abstraction. Eben is quite a thinker, parsing different ideas and concepts through his mind in a really brilliant manner. The resulting piece is intended to portray the lens of the mind contemplating a flower and the various […]

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A Transitive Nightfall of Diamonds

See the full painting here: A Transitive Nightfall of Diamonds “Each note is like a whole universe. And each silence…. And the quality of sound and the degree of emotional… It’s like the most important thing in the world. It’s truly cosmic.” – Jerry Garcia in “The Rolling Stone Interviews” Loud fuzzy distorted sustained amplified strummed plucked looped shredded wah wah wah wailing upon and fed back through layer upon layer of chord progression melody line guiding me and dividing me and finding that perfect note, that golden chord, that crying out tone of my soul. This is my homage […]

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The Apotheosis of Hope

Hope. It is a silly thing – a frivolous thing. Hope is the breath of a bubble waiting to burst. In the midst of our more confidently brazen facades, we scoff it off as naive – a thing for children’s stories and religious tales when the fairy godmother might come and sweep us away and the brethren hope for the return of their savior. When all is well, what need have we for hope? When tomorrow and the next look as bright and full of possibility as today what need have we to break our stride? I’m ok. You’re ok. […]

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When the Smoke Cleared

So the past couple of weeks at our little Divine Comedy have been challenging. We moved north of Napa back in December and, after the wettest winter on record, we had the hottest summer on record which led to the worst fires, you guessed it, on record. Our air was thick with smoke and we woke every morning examining the current fire maps. We were rather surrounded – to the north, south, and west at times less than ten miles from the brunt of them. When everything is like a tinderbox and winds may shift at any moment, that ten miles doesn’t seem […]

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Summertime Paintings 2015

Years ago I got into a kind of creative flow that went like this: winter was when I worked on large, detailed paintings while summer was for getting out and doing things and events and traveling and the like. I found myself painting and sort of hibernating during many winters because life feels quieter and more internal. It’s helpful for allowing my mind and body to settle, focusing on the finer details of my work. Come summer – when life bursts with exuberant busy-ness, I’d pick up and go out and share and be more social. During those summer months, I often […]

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Surrender

I was going through all sorts of files, updating web stuff, doing businessy things, cataloging and organizing, as one has to do. Sometimes I’m struck by the fact that there is just so much art I’ve created over many years. And much of it, I think, returns to this painting, Surrender (28″ x 48″), painted in 1996 when I was 19.Painting it was a turning point in my life. I’d had this experience earlier that summer which had left me filled with questions and doubts. Basically, I was struggling with letting go of the yoke of social and parental expectations. […]

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The Dorky Painting

The Dorky Painting62″ x 24″2002

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