Entitled Inland Mountain Journey, this exhibition highlights a new body of work by Houston-based painter Michael Roque Collins that engages relationships between the physical world and the spiritual. These paintings are filled with classical ruins, gateways of trees, and isolated bodies of water that reference the Earth's natural cycles of destruction and regeneration.
Informed by his travels to Venice, Florence, Pompeii and South America, Collins has internalized architectural grandeur converged with historical story inspired by those sacred grounds. His landscapes are rendered as composites of locations that evoke Earth's various states of entropy -- tides, storms, erosion, and volcanic forces -- as metaphorical signifiers of intense human struggle that lead toward the possibility of individual transcendence.
Collins’ visceral engagement with his materials – thick impastoed oil paint and other mixed media– reflects the conceptual relationship in his art between material decay and metaphysical renewal. Beginning with chiaroscuro underpainting, Collins builds his paintings using bold gestural marks, successive layers of pentimenti, rich color and hue, carefully modulated and thickly applied. His pictorial techniques allude to natural cycles of order and disorder, memory and history, enlightenment and darkness––root aspects of the human condition, the collective unconscious, and the natural order.
The introduction of especially vibrant coloration in these new works manifests their transition into unequivocal allegories of redemptive hopefulness. In these new paintings, the forces of nature and their cycles of regeneration represent the odyssey of humankind, imprinting new hope and revelations of the soul that come from the constant natural rhythms epitomized in the Inland Mountain Journey series.