Michael Ross is known for his lush paintings of forests, fields, wetlands, birds, and humans in relationship to natural spaces. His subject matter traces his personal history, guided by his sense of wonder at the world around us. Some paintings look to the meditative and healing qualities of the natural world. In the curves of leaves, budding plants, and colorful patterned birds, he sees symbols of rebirth and growth. Several works depict scenes of conflict: Finnish and Russian soldiers along their forested borderland during World War II. These are allegories about war and peace, friendship, and rootedness to land and home. Still other paintings celebrate our pleasure senses. In his dessert series, Ross renders crisp and glossy treats that visually connect our sense of sight to our tastebuds. In all his paintings, we feel the tactility and texture of the world he depicts — and yet also feel it as a vessel for emotions, stories, and symbols.
Although primarily an easel painter, you can see Michael’s murals here in Athens on the corner of Reese and Billups Streets, and (coming fall 2020 or spring 2021) on Hawthorne Avenue just south of the CVS by the corner of Oglethorpe Avenue.
Michael Ross, born 1977, spent his first years in Norway and Finland and moved to the Washington, D.C. area as an adolescent. He received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Maryland, lived in San Francisco for many years, and received his MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in 2016. Ross’ work is featured in the collections of the Georgia Museum of Art, the University of Georgia, the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia, the Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation, and in private collections in the United States and in Europe. He has participated in artist residencies in Maine, Vermont, Norway, and in Benin, Africa, and has exhibited his work extensively in galleries across the United States.