Mike Solomon

Statement/Biography

MIKE SOLOMON (b. 1956)

Mike Solomon has exhibited widely throughout the United States at museums, galleries, and art fairs. In 2021, his installation, Kristallnacht, was exhibited at the Tampa Museum of Art, Florida, in the exhibition SKYWAY: A Contemporary Collaboration. Curators from four museums including the Tampa Museum of Art, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, The St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, Florida, and USF Contemporary Art Museum Tampa, Florida, chose artists from the region to participate in this four-month long exhibition. Solomon was also a panelist in the symposium, Trauma and Race: Art and Healing at the museum.

While caring for his aging mother during the 2020 lockdown, Solomon created a series of 20 colored pencil drawings of scenes from the news feeds related to the pandemic and the protests. The first sequence were images of Black doctors working on the front lines of the pandemic. These were followed by images of essential workers and people protesting the murder of George Floyd and Ahmad Arberry. The Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, included a video Solomon created about these works for their project on what artists were making during the lockdown. The Brooklyn Rail published Joyce Beckensteins' article, Artists Stories from the Pandemic, which featured Solomon's drawing of Dr. Ala Stamford of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Greenville County Museum of Art, South Carolina, purchased the entire suite of drawings for its permanent collection. These works were featured in Sarasota publications, including SRQ and the Sarasota Herald Tribune and they were exhibited virtually on the Sarasota Art Museum’s website.

Mike Solomon’s 2019 installation, Sentient, opened at the Greenville County Museum of Art, South Carolina. These works focused on how light penetrates translucent media. The museum also acquired Solomon's Radiant Acquiescence, a resin, watercolor, and paper work dedicated to artist Mark Tobey (1890 -1976). Solomon's work was also featured in the exhibition, A Life with Art: Gifts From Dwight and Sue Emanuelson, at the Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina, in 2019.

Solomon was included in the important exhibition, Art of Our Time, curated by Matthew McLendon at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (2016). He was also included in Defining Abstraction (2015) curated by Mark Ormond at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. Following this, Solomon had a solo exhibition, Mike Solomon: Immediate Splendor, at Berry Campbell, New York (2017).

Solomon studied at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine (1975) and continued his studies at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, Connecticut (1978) where he was influenced by artist Joan Snyder. He spent the rest of 1978 in New York City on independent study with artists Ray Parker and David Budd. In 1979, Solomon earned his Bachelor of Arts at the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied with Charles Garabedian and John McCracken amongst others. In 1989, Solomon earned his Master’s of Fine Arts from Hunter College, New York. From 1980 to 1984 he served as studio assistant to John Chamberlain.

In 2011, sculptor Alice Aycock chose Solomon for the acclaimed biennial exhibition Artists Choose Artists at the Parrish Art Museum. His first solo exhibition was held in 1979 at the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by one person shows at the Queens Museum of Art, New York (1988), Hunter College, New York (1989), and the Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York (1999). In 2001, Solomon participated as an artist and advisor in Surfs Up, the first show of its kind in New York, on surfing and its culture. It was curated by the late John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton. Other artists in the show were Richard Prince, Julian Schnabel, Ashley Bickerton, and Michael Halsband. Solomon has also been included in exhibitions curated by Noah Becker, Blair Voltz Clark, Rob Edleman, Mary Heilmann, and Geoffrey Young.

In addition to the Ringling Museum of Art, Solomon has participated in group exhibitions at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York; Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York; Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee; Selby Gallery at the Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; Tampa Museum of Art, Florida; Telfair Art Museum, Savannah, Georgia; and the Columbia Museum, Columbia, South Carolina.

Robert Long, writer and author of De Kooning's Bicycle, stated, "Only rarely does this light appear on canvas – it happens in Jane Freilicher, Fairfield Porter, Jane Wilson, and, of course de Kooning – and it can only be represented indirectly. Solomon, however, is of a different generation and temperament, and the materials he uses allow him to treat light more directly. What he has accomplished in these paintings is more on the level of magic than mimicry. He shows us something familiar about the world in a way we had not anticipated, and transcendence arrives in that moment of surprised recognition."

In a 2015 review, art critic James Croak wrote, "Solomon’s more controlled grid-like abstraction seems to date from well before the New York School and is anchored in the early Modernism and grid structure of the De Stijl group in The Netherlands. A specific reference would be Piet Mondrian, whose Composition in Brown and Gray (1913-14) or Composition in Line (Black and White) (1916-17) derived from a geometric reduction of landscape would seem to be immediate ancestors.”

Commenting on the aspect of nature informing Solomon's art, Helen Harrison, historian and Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center stated, "His art embodies fundamental qualities that he perceives in nature, for which he creates aesthetic analogies. Without imitating those qualities, he captures their essence, pins it down and offers it as a gift to those who take the time to receive it.”

Bruce Helander wrote in the Huffington Post: “Mike Solomon creates beautiful, color saturated paintings that have a built-in grid reminiscent of early Larry Poons geometric accents, which contain an elegant veil of dreamlike mist. Solomon is a tastemaker if there ever was one…”

Mike Solomon is included in numerous private collections including those of Edward Albee, Beth Rudin deWoody, Dan Flavin, Jr., Tom and Darlene Furst, Richard Meier, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Prince, Sam Alfstad, Michele Berty, Geoffrey Young and Priscilla Rattazzi. Selected public collections include Cantor Fitzgerald Collection, New York; Oliver and Wyman, New York; Columbia Museum, Columbia, South Carolina; Greenville County Museum of Art Greenville, South Carolina,  Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York;  J. Crew, New York; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; and the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.  Solomon has twice been the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2001 and 2012.

CV
1975, Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, Skowhegan, Maine
1978, Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, Connecticut
1978, Independent study with Ray Parker and David Budd, New York, New York
1979, Bachelor of Arts, College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
1989 Masters of Fine Art, Hunter College, New York, New York

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina, Sentient, 2019.
East Hampton Public Library, East Hampton New York 2018.
Alfstad & Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2018.
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Immediate Splendor, 2017.
Kathryn Markel Fine Art, Bridgehampton, New York, 2015.
Alfstad & Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2015.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2014. 
Salomon Contemporary, New York, 2012.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, 2008.
John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton, New York, 2008.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, 2006.
Greene Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, 2006.
The Green Barn, Sagaponack, New York, 2002.
Heckscher Museum of Art, Roslyn, New York, 1999.
Ann Harper Gallery, Amagansett, New York, 1996.
Benton Gallery, Southampton, New York, 1993.
Benton Gallery, Southampton, New York, 1992.
Hunter College, New York, 1989.
Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York, 1988.
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1986.
University of California, Santa Barbara, California, 1979. 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, A Decade of Collecting, 2022-23.
Gallery Petite, Brooklyn, The Ocean Show, 2021.
Tampa Museum of Art, Florida, Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, 2021.
Berry Campbell, New York, Artist Insights/ Contemporary Highlights, 2020.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2019.
VSOP Art + Design Projects, Greenport, New York, On the Grid: Contemporary Explorations, 2019.
Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina, A Life With Art | Gifts from Dwight and Sue Emanuelson, 2019.
Gallery Petite, Brooklyn, Oceansize, July 3 - September 16, 2018
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Summer Selections, July 5-August 28, 2018
Berry Campbell Gallery, Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, Palm Beach, Florida, January 11- 15, 2018
Alfstad & Contemporary, Aqua Art Fair, Miami, December 6 - 10, 1017
Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Supreme Friction, June 3 – July 1, 2017
Berry Campbell Gallery, Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, Palm Beach, Florida, January 20 -24, 2017
Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Supreme Friction, June 3 – July 1, 2017
Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, 48th Collectors Show and Sale, November 11, 2016-Janauary 8, 2017
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, Art of Our Time, November 5, 2016 – October 5, 2017
Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Hanging Paper, August 6 - 27, 2016  
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Summer Selections, July 5-August 28, 2016
Art Southampton, Southampton, New York, Berry Campbell Gallery, July 5-10, 2016
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Summer Selections, June 30-September 14, 2015.
Art Silicon Valley, San Mateo, California, Berry Campbell Gallery   October 9-11, 2015
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Something, Curated by Noah Becker, January 7- February 6, 2016.
Art Wynwood, Miami, Florida, Berry Campbell Gallery, February 12-16, 2016.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, Small and Big, January, 2016.
Ringling College of Art and Design, Selby Gallery, Sarasota, Florida, Defining Abstraction, July 10 – August 5, 2015.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, The Lightness of Being: Abstracts: Part 1, May 1-June 13, 2015.
Sara Nightingale Fine Art, Water Mill, New York, 2015.
Hamptons Art Markt, Sara Nightingale Fine Art, Bridgehampton, New York, 2015.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, A Few Great, Big Pictures, May 16-July 28, 2014.
McNeill Art Group, Southampton, New York, Mark Makers, July 4- August 4, 2014.
Dallas Art Fair, Ashley Tatum Fine Art, Dallas, Texas, 2013.
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida  Some Wonderful Abstractions, August 15- October 5, 2013.
The 20th Annual Watermill Center Benefit, Water Mill, New York, July 27, 2013.
Hamptons Art Markt, Sara Nightingale Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, July 11 – 14, 2013.
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, Artists & Writers They Played in the Game, June 15 - July 28, 2013.
Sarah Nightingale Gallery Water Mill, New York, April - May 30, 2013.
Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida, Abstract, adj.; Expressing a quality apart from an object, February 21- April 3, 2013.
Fireplace Project, Springs, New York, Inside Outsiders, June 29 – July 16, 2012 (Curated by Mary Heilmann).
Harper’s Books, East Hampton, New York, Open for the Stones, May 26th – June 25, 2012.
Dallas Art Fair, Salomon Contemporary Booth, Dallas, Texas, 2012.
Harper’s Books East Hampton, New York, Group Therapy, April 21 – May 21, 2012.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Artists Chose Artists, August 21 – October 9, 2011  (Chosen by sculptor Alice Aycock).
Islip Art Museum, Islip, New York, Flag Day, June 15 – September 4, 2011.
John McWhinnie / Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton, New York, Local 87, July 2 – September 15, 2011.
Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, New York, Hampton’s Artists: Then and Now, May 5 – June 5, 2011.
Salomon Contemporary, New York, New York, Plank Road, 2010.
McNeill Art Group Project Space, New York, Plastic, Rubber, Wood, October 21 – December 14, 2009.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Sand: Memory, Meaning and Metaphor, June 29 - September 14, 2008.
Scope Hamptons, East Hampton, New York, 
July 24 – 27, 2008.
Anelle Gandelman Gallery, Larchmont, New York, 2008.
Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia , East End Artists: Past and Present, October 17, 2007 – January 6, 2008.
Greene Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida, Assemblage, August 3 - September 1, 2007.
Scope Art Fair, East Hampton, New York, July 26 – July 29, 2007.
Salvatore Ferragamo Gallery, New York, New York, Water, February 7 – June 4, 2007 (Curated by Blair Voltz Clark)
Chelsea Art Museum, New York, The Food Show: The Hungry Eye, November 16 – February 24, 2006  (Curated by Rob Edleman).
Spanierman Modern, New York, Long Island Abstraction 1950 to the Present, September 7 – October 28, 2006.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, Hanging Out: A Re-visitation of Summer 2006, September 10 – October 7, 2006.
Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, New York, October – December, 2005.
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, People, Places And Things: Works from the Collection, April 2 – May 15, 2005.
Remy Toledo Gallery, New York, Then and Now: Hampton Artists, 
March 31 – April 16, 2005.
Hampton Road Gallery, Southampton, New York, Works on Paper, March 6 - March 17, 2005.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Recent Acquisitions: Framing the Collection, September- December, 2004
Hampton Road Gallery, Southampton, New York, Fresh Paint, 
September 11 – October 11, 2004.
Milk Gallery, New York, Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing, July, 2004 (Originated at Laguna Museum of Art, Laguna, CA, traveled to Honolulu Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii), 2004.
The Work Space, New York, 
September 19- November 16, 2002 (Curated by Leslie Heller)
Glenn Horowitz Bookseller East Hampton, New York, The Sea, May 25 – June 24, 2002.
Glenn Horowitz Bookseller
East Hampton, New York, Surf’s Up: Pop Culture and Beyond,
 July 14 – August 16, 2001.
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, The Global Village: 9 Artists of East Hampton, April 14 – May 27, 2001.
Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey, traveled to Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN, Waxing Poetic: Encaustic Art in America, 1999.                                                                         
Staller Art Center, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY, South Fork Artists, 1995.
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, Young Blood, 1993.
O.K. Harris
New York, New York, Centennial Biennial Invitational, 1991. 

SELECTED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
Edward Albee
Beth Rudin deWoody
Barnett Bank, Tampa, FL
Michel Berty
Cantor Fitzgerald Collection, New York, NY
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
Lorraine Cooper
Dan Flavin, Jr.
Tom and Darlene Furst
Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY
J Crew, New York, NY
Richard Meier
Alex Oliver
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Prince
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
Pricilla Rattazzi Whittle
Oliver / Wyman

AWARDS
2001 Pollock – Krasner Foundation Grant
2012 Pollock – Krasner Foundation Grant