Office: Power Art 124
Phone: (973) 720-3807
Office Hours: tuesday- 4:30-6:30p By appointment
Area Specialization: Sculpture, Sculpture and Digital Media
Michael Rees' work takes language and nature as it is described in chemistry and biology as the starting point of his work. These themes are the discursive elements of each of the periods of his work. Rees refers to his works as having multiple valences, layers of experience, meaning, and connectivity. These layers surround an object linguistically and then extend it into the world. These valences incorporate the biological concept of meme, the smallest unit of cultural evolution. Each work is the physical manifestation of a memeplex that refers to a body mind spirit dynamic.
The body refers to the Monster series and its attendant animations. These are concerned with the manipulated body and with multiple consciousness folded into an animate constructed body. The mind refers to the Sculptural User Interface with its parallel attendance to tendencies in conceptual art and computer science (the readymade, an extension of Beuys notion of social sculpture and open source software as a ready made made ready.) And finally the spiritual: Rees' Ajna Series is the conflation of western analytic science and eastern metaphysics with a special blend of surrealism from Batailles Visions of Excess.
His work has been shown at the Whitney Museum in the 1995 Biennial and again in 2001 in the exhibition BitStreams. He has had international exhibitions at the MARTa Museum in Germany, and shown in New York galleries. The work is included in public collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art and also at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas city with a large permanent public installation of sculpture and animation Putto 2x2x4. Rees utilizes performance, animation, video, installation, sculptural objects, computer software programs, and interactivity.
In 2008 Rees won a Rockefeller Renew Media Grant for the project Social Object: sculpture and software. His sculpture Converge: Ghraib Bag is on exhibit at The Fields Sculpture Park at Art Omi, Ghent, New York. His work is also included in e-form at the Beijing Today Art Museum and the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, both in China.
In 2007 Rees performed Live Life at a day of performance in Matthew Barney's studio as part of a day of performances "Action into Object" curated by Matthew Barney. Barney did a run through for his opera which was to be seen later in Manchester, England, and German Artist Jonathon Meese performed also. In 2007 he also won a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual State Fellowship Award.
Michael Rees received his Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Yale University. As an undergraduate he graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute. He won a Deutscher Akademischer Austaushdienst for study at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, Germany with Joseph Beuys.