We met Michael Sjostedt in our Provincetown shop one of our first seasons and we are excited to show his mid-century modern inspired collages. We will have a curated offer with us at Art Gaysel at Hôtel Gaythering; the queerest art fair happening during Art Basel's December show in Miami Beach.
Raised amidst Connecticut’s sterile suburbs, Michael Sjostedt spent his childhood steeped in the pop culture of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, finding in them both salvation and estrangement. That dichotomy forms the basis of his art, as he considers how he simultaneously fits and does not fit into the media of his youth—then and now.
Since 2011, he has explored renegade subcultures from the mid century to the 1980s, with collage as his preferred medium. Each piece works to uncover the internal rules and modalities that create community within subcultures—but also wall it off from those outside its perimeters and parameters. As Sjostedt winds his way through the visual codes inherent to his subject matter, he’s guided by the question, “Where am I in all this?”
Sjostedt first discovered the power of collage while assembling a mood board for an unrealized painting project. Ten years later, he has crafted more than a dozen collage series. We're excited to be showing two of these series; Code and Slam.
Some highlights from the Code series.
"I’ve always paid attention to portrayals of masculinity in the media—and how I absorbed those messages. As a hyper self-conscious teen, the idolization of the athletic male form in the health-crazed 80s was that much… louder. And it wasn’t just the body worship photography. Headlines, interviews, and pull quotes all suggested that these men had reached a higher level of humanity. If you achieve an ideal body, everything else falls into place. Very irrational and unhealthy thinking. Yet, these forms are still very compelling to look at, which complicated how I viewed myself and my male peers for many years to come." Michael Sjostedt
Some highlights from the Slam series.
"When I was in Provincetown in October 2020, I scored some 1960s wrestling magazines at Tim's Used Books and some tattered comic books at the flea market. I worked on this collection during my weeklong stay at The Brass Anchor. Wrestling and comic books were very much in my teenage orbit during the 80s and early-90s. Over-the-top action and colorful characters were a great escape from the snoozy Connecticut suburbs. Working on SLAM was a literal blast from the past—on steroids. The two worlds collided perfectly!" Michael Sjostedt
For Sjostedt, the most fitting materials for an exploration of popular culture already exist—and it’s incumbent upon the maker to repurpose familiar imagery, unlocking fresh perspectives in highly trafficked subcultures. From hyperreal print ads that promise consumers an ultimately inaccessible experience, to the spectacle of niche magazines promoting a lux lifestyle subscribers can only read about (we’re looking at you, Yachting), Sjostedt both celebrates and deconstructs the worlds of fashion, surf, wrestling, and motorhead culture … to name a few.
Sjostedt’s work has been displayed in galleries and shows throughout New England, where he lives, works, and reads pulp fiction.
#queer #queerart #collage #queercommunity #midcenturymodern