Artist Michael Velliquette creates carefully detailed installations made out of countless cut pieces of paper, each and every one textured and layered over the next. He has dabbled in multiple different medias but his material of choice is without a doubt paper.
His work makes use of a new spiritual language — one which brings together elements of early 20th century formalism, and modern tastes in regards to the hand crafted, having a visual vocabulary that he has formulated over the last twenty years. This vocabulary is bright, dense, ornamental, and is also punctuated with repeating motifs such as hands, eyes, flowers, planets, mandalas and goofy, smiley faces.
His most recent series, put together by cutting and composing very small pieces of cardboard, is devoted to sophisticated three-dimensional and monochromatic structures that appear to be equally sacred architecture and mandalas. Beyond the unquestionable nearly ascetic approach required to create works of this type, the spiritual character is also highlighted by the names chosen by the artist, borrowed from the Buddhist vocabulary: saṅkhāra, anicca, viññāṇa, sañña, vedana …
The term mandala is a Sanskrit expression meaning “circle” or “discoid object”. A mandala is often explained in two ways: outwardly as a schematic visual representation of the universe and internally as a guideline for a number of psychophysical techniques that take place in many Asian traditions, such as meditation. Mandalas are things of devotion in Tantric Hindu as well as in Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana Buddhism) and they are also used in Jainism. They may be painted on paper, wood, stone, cloth or even on a wall or in this case made out ouf paper.
Color normally plays a strong role in Velliquette’s work and works to imply a feeling of optical fullness or visual generosity in the viewer. He forgoes his previous usage of vivid colors, while as an alternative utilizing an emotionally restrained palette of neutrals and monochromes.
Velliquette received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a BFA from Florida State University. His work has been shown in solo shows at the David Shelton Gallery, Houston, and DCKT Contemporary New York. He currently resides in Madison, WI where he is a Faculty Associate for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Art Department.