Again embodies a certain energy that can only be found in a painting when the artist expresses his or her honest reaction to something – untainted, bona fide inspiration. Michael Lazarus does not acquaint himself entirely with one school or methodology of painting, nor does he see a distinction between the insight he finds in a shop sign painted on wood and a Rothko painting. He views his paintings as physical objects capable of conveying feelings and experiences. When asked about the reasoning behind his artistic choices, he skirts around the issue, making statements like “I don’t have any elements in my work that are meant to have a specific meaning.” Obviously, he realizes that there are many reasons for why he paints what he paints in the specific manner which he takes on, but he feels no hidden urgency to uncover his thought process or to analyze the intention behind every mark of paint.
On first examination, Again comes across as very fresh and easy with lively colors and simple but elegantly executed patterns. However, you can see the meticulous method and reworking that went into the piece if you look closer. When Lazarus paints, a lot of editing and changes take place. He says that he rarely leaves a painting unfinished. For him, painting is about the process of formulating ideas and answering questions that arise through inspiration. He once said, “I love it when I see something and suddenly want to use it. Elements in my work have been influenced by the shape of a coffee stain made on a paper cup, the drawer pull on the dresser by the side of my bed, and the shape of my hands.”
–Aaron Barach, Skidmore College, ’06
From the exhibition: About Painting (June 26 – September 26, 2004)