March - May 1999
32 x 48 in.
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MICHELLE ECHENIQUE has set up her lifestyle so that she can paint as much as possible. She is employed part time at University of California Press, and spends the rest of her time painting or looking at other works of art.
Her studio, formerly a garage and then a musician's studio, is behind her home. Her older pieces hang all around on its walls and in her house. Recently she bought a second easel and just by chance started to work on two paintings (acrylic on canvas) simultaneously-something new for her; it used to be one at a time. The larger of these is 45x60", bigger than what she's done before. She says it takes her about a month to complete something. "This varies; these latest ones have taken a little longer because I haven't worked on them straight through. . . . I guess when it looks finished it's finished."
She captures, moments, gestures. The paintings themselves are a grouping of figures. "I used to paint a lot of symbols. I've done a lot of work that ended up in theaters. As I got away from that I started painting more figures. And then some of the bright colors in my work are influenced from the time I spent painting in Mexico." Now, she starts by looking at ads, newspapers, fashion magazines. "I take people from a variety of situations, then place them into the context of my canvas. I never know what's going to happen to them until they are in that context. The relationships between the characters play themselves out."
Echenique shows mostly at open studios and alternate venues because she doesn't like the gallery scene. Her work is currently on the cover of "California Gold," a catalog of books from UC Press and can also be seen at her studio by appointment (510-540-6132).
This site created and maintained by Mark Harden.