Ron Michael of Lindsborg, Kan., makes sculptures, vessels, disks and works on paper that are inspired by the landscape, soil and geology of Kansas Although most works arc developed from his imagination, they reference organisms, objects and remnants that mingle in this subtle and alluring ecosystem. When creating pieces, Michael tries to infuse them with a natural history-like quality and sublime sense of mystery. He embraces a weathered aesthetic, directness, imperfection, texture, asymmetry and a touch. of humor.
Michael is a proponent of the slow art movement and frugal art-making practices. He employs simple methods, and he advocates art made at the human scale. Hand tools are the nom; and, when practical, locally sourced materials are used. His ceramic pieces include a high percentage of Kansas clay .—usually dug in Jewell or McPherson counties — and he forms them using hand-built or wheel-thrown techniques. For many sculptural forms, he uses regional stone and upcycled or locally sourced wood.
In addition to making three-dimensional forms, Michael creates work on paper. This provides an opportunity to translate and transform his ideas using pencils, pens, erasers and paper.
Michael is the director of the Birger-Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Linsborg. Before being named director in 2014 he served as a curator for 14 years and a registrar fro three. He has exhibited in many regional and national exhibitions; taught art courses at the collegiate level; juried number art competitions; and been involved with several art organizations. In the spring of 2000, Michale received an MFA in ceramics from the University of Kansas.
Prior to work at the Sandmen Gallery and attending school at KU, Michael served as a reference librarian for the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Calif., and taught high school art in Seneca. In 1995, he received a master’s degree in library science and information management from Emporia State University. He also has two undergraduate degrees from Fort Hays State University.