Michael Staniak’s hypnotic and textured surfaces act as a portal to a post-digital world, one in which we inhabit both physical and virtual spheres, and reflect on the issues this archival existence can entail. Gently undulating contours shimmer enticingly, redolent of the implied tactility of a touchscreen.
As we voyage deeper into an age of dual environments - the physical and the virtual - Staniak’s textured paintings highlight the phenomena of both realms. The tromp l’oeil effect ensures a variety of visual interpretations: the viewer’s position, either on or offline, affects the subsequent experience. When the paintings are viewed on the screen, the texture is emphasised; when viewed physically they seem flat, like a digital print or a backlit screen. His paintings are reminiscent of cosmic topographies viewed by satellite imaging, or microscopic surfaces blown up to macro levels. Looking at Staniak’s pieces is like entering an uncharted environment: one where lithic surfaces have been imprinted by time and the elements, until a gently undulating surface remains.
Michael Staniak in his studio 2020
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Michael Staniak was born in Melbourne in 1982. His adolescence was primarily a sporting one and, in his early twenties, he became a professional tennis player - a career which was cut short due to injury. The silver lining to this particular cloud was Staniak’s subsequent movement from the tennis court to the artist studio, spending a year in his back garden toiling over a folio for entry into art college, he reignited a passion for the creative arts.
Staniak studied digital media communications in the United States and, discovering an artistic and academic verve, went on to study for a BFA followed by an MFA at the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts (graduating in 2011). Staniak’s work formed part of Unit London’s 2018 group exhibition Looking For U which showcased eight outstanding artists’ explorations of art in the digital age. Staniak’s solo shows include Anytime Anywhere and Solid State at Steve Turner in Los Angeles; New Surface at NKN in Melbourne; IMG_ at Contemporary Art Museum in St Louis; and Permanent Display at the Annarumma Gallery in Naples.