Michelle Lopez is an interdisciplinary sculptor and installation artist, known for her rigorous conceptual practice and boldly experimental approach to process and material. Her research of industrial materials exposes the boundaries of our own cultural constructions. Early work such as her leather-covered car, Boy, riffs on of our relationship to consumer products by combining forms of Capitalism with skin-colored leather. Lopez also examines art-historical Minimalist forms, by building abject spare structures out of debris. Her crumpled aluminum and stainless-steel work, Blue Angels, exemplifies a post-9/11 technological failure while also considering the performative element of the artist’s body via sculpture. Her sound and kinetic installation, Halyard, is a further iteration of examining invisible structures of power.
Lopez has mounted ambitious international exhibitions that experientially examine collapsed structures on micro (individual and figurative) and macro (political and social) levels. She looks at the phenomenon of violence through structures of silence and disappearance. Her series of silver-nitrate pours onto large-scale, UV-treated, architectural glass, Smoke Clouds capture the wisp of smoke after destruction as an elegiac sculptural form, and as a mirror to reflect the viewer’s image. Her most recent installation of an abject collapsing scaffolding system has steel rope and street rubble lifting it all up in a strange contradictory logic.
Lopez earned her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York and BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘House of Cards,’ Simon Preston, Gallery, 2018; ‘Halyard’, Alt, Istanbul, 2016; ‘Angels, Flags, Bangs,’ The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Connecticut, 2014; Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris, 2012; Simon Preston, New York, 2015, 2011 & 2009; ‘The Year We Made Contact,’ LA><ART, Los Angeles, 2008, among others. She participated in ‘Greater New York,’ PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York 2000; Public Art Fund, Metrotech Center, New York, 2000 and California Biennial, OCMA, Orange County, CA, 2004. Upcoming solo museum exhibitions: ICA Philadelphia, Fall 2019.
Other recent group exhibitions include ‘You Just Fit, You and I,’ Harvard Carpenter Center for the Arts; ‘Re-Enactments,’ Museum of Contemporary Art & Design (MCAD), Manila, Philippines; ‘When You Cut into the Present, the Future Leaks Out,’ No Longer Empty, The Old Bronx Courthouse, New York, NY. ‘Temporary/Contemporary,’ Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL, ‘A Chromatic Loss,’ Bortolami Gallery, New York, 2014; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2005, and Artist Space, New York, 2008.
Formerly a faculty member at Yale School of Art, Sculpture, she is now faculty in the Fine Arts Program at The School of Design, University of Pennsylvania and leads the Sculpture Division.