Michelle Reeves



Michelle Reeves

About the Artist

Floral beauty is Michelle Reeves’ sanctuary, causing a visceral response to the beauty and the possibilities through flowers, nature and color – putting voice to canvas through paint and palette knife in an expressionistic fashion.

Michelle’s work is abstract/expressionism with a dash of realism. Colors, forms and textures inspired by nature, are the key components for her paintings relaying messages that are good, not so good and sometimes ugly.

As a self-taught painter, she started later in life as a result of one question a gentleman asked during a job interview: “What are you passionate about?” Reeves went back to school to get an Interior Design degree. But through the course work something happened…she started to paint and found her true calling and passion!

Reeves has been published in the fall 2021 issue of THE BEST OF Acrylic Magazine, House&Garden UK magazine and Styleblueprint.com/FACES in 2019. Reeves has been awarded 23 International awards which include Floral Artist of the Year 2020 and an Award of Excellence. Reeves was also awarded two overseas artist residencies in 2020.

About Artist’s Work:

Painting occurred late in my life. In 2017 a gentleman asked a question during a job interview: “What are you passionate about?” Pondering the answer to that question led me back to school to get an Interior Design degree, hoping this would fill a void. Along the way, through course work, I found my true self and at 52 years old, started painting.

After a life-time of feeling hidden and unworthy, renewed child-like joy and professional purpose bubble out and is reflected on the canvas. The relief of knowing what I’m supposed to be doing and the emotive translations of life are expressed with careful color consideration and texture building.

As a self taught painter, every canvas is a learning experience and as a former make-up artist I am very affected by color and have been my whole life. I am inspired by what I see in nature which springboards me in a painting direction. I don’t paint what I see, but rather the impression, color and movement of the subject or imagined content.

Floral beauty has always been my sanctuary causing a visceral response to the beauty and possibilities of nature and life. It comes as no surprise that when I started painting, flowers literally exploded out of me as they bring me so much joy and wonderful memories. The connection I feel when surrounded by nature is the feeling of HOME and optimism. I communicate my point of view, good, bad or ugly, through flowers/nature and color/texture – putting voice to canvas through paint and brush/palette knife, in an exploratory fashion.

It brings me great joy when someone says a painting makes them happy to look at it. Many artists will tell you they paint with emotion on their sleeve, and those emotions are reflected on the canvas. I do the same, but sometimes I get a zap of impulsive energy that is reckless and physical. For example, In A NutShell is two paintings in one. The under painting is a graphic doodle painted with brushes using shades of deep pink, green and black. I enjoyed the process with the rigid lines and crisp color not often found in my previous paintings. I knew I would eventually paint over the doodle and when I did, I had a physical urge to paint with my bare hands. The top ridge of the canvas is where I added white paint and dragged my hands downward using one swipe to move the paint creating a water-like effect. The outcome is a delight and I discovered a new technique from taking this risk. Taking risks keeps pushing me forward so I can continue to offer something I’m proud of.

I am so grateful to be painting and thank the Heavens above daily. And when an idea hits….I grab creative by the tail and kiss inspiration on the cheek and enjoy the ride.

Larkin Cook

Larkin Cook

Artist Bio

Larkin Cook (American b. 1999) is an artist based in Chattanooga, TN working in painting, sculpture, and performance. She makes narrative, figurative work about the intersection between gender and space, relationships, and sexuality. Dual extremes cohabitate in her work—comfort and discomfort, privacy and intrusion, patriarchy and matriarchy, grotesqueness and beauty. Her most recent body of work, Pussy Pack explores platonic intimacy within her own community of women. She disrupts the unspoken rules and toxic stereotypes that dictate the ways that women are expected to act together or toward each other.

In 2021, Cook earned a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She also received a partial scholarship to attend a summer workshop at Penland School of Crafts in Bakersville, North Carolina. Recent exhibitions include the BFA Thesis Show at the Institute of Contemporary Art at UTC (Chattanooga, TN). In 2020, her work was shown in, Space Case at LABspace Art (Hillsdale, NY) curated by Julie Torres and Ellen Letcher and Year of the Metal Rat at the Cress Contemporary Gallery (Chattanooga, TN) juried by Jiha Moon.

Artist Statement

In my body of work Pussy Pack, I depict women in feminine spaces that closely mirror my experiences with friendship in a tight-knit community of women. My paintings question the notion of the badly behaved woman. The figures in my work are seen confronting the viewer, overindulging, and being unapologetic in how they express themselves. Through referencing candid images taken by myself and others within the group, a narrative of bonded women at a pivotal, transitional stage is pieced together. Our bond, formed out of proximity, touch, and excess, acts as a spell, comfortably binding us together. The private spaces we inhabit shield us. Those who we choose to invite into our circle must look through our communal, feminine lens.

What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?

The gaze while typically masculine can come from anyone and is typically negatively directed to the feminine person. I challenge the gaze in my work through drawing attention to the body while depicting figures that often confront the viewer. The figures in my work have power and autonomy through participating in a different type of gaze one where the viewer or voyeur becomes conscious of themselves. The figures in my work choose to stare back and shift the control to themselves. Other times I depict the negative effects of the gaze or a safe space that protects from the gaze.