Opening Reception: Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 7PM
Michael Garlington, the son of a journalist and a photographer, grew up in Petaluma, California, where he presently lives and works. In this land of hippies, poultry and dairy farmers, metal fabricators, bleeding hearts, artists, and transients, he drew his early inspiration. At the age of 17, Garlington began working with his mother and stepfather at their photographic lab based in San Francisco.
At Spindler Photographic, Garlington gained and mastered his skills of black and white film developing and printing. The clientele at Spindler represented the best photographers in the Bay Area and this exposure helped inform both his composition as well as darkroom talents. In 1998, Garlington began photographing and documenting the world around him and creating new ones by building backdrop and set elements and installations into portraits he refers to as photosculptures. His eye captured luminous yet stark imagery that included fairy-tale like scenes encompassing the spectrum of human experience, from the mundane to the poignant to the absurd.
Since 2000, he has continued the PhotoCar project, where he and artists of various media backgrounds set forth on a cross-country trip in a vehicle covered in decoupage of his photography. Each is inspired to create and interact with those along the way. Here, Garlington captures his story of Americana.
Today, Michael Garlington is a renown installation artist, sculptor, and photographer. Since 2004, Garlington has been featured in PhotoNY, PhotoLA, and PhotoSF. In 2005, a collection of his portraiture was published under the title, Portraits of the Belly of the Whale. He has been exhibited in solo and group shows around the world, and in 2009 his work was the target of an art heist in Connecticut.
More recently Garlington has been sought out for his installations. In 2010, Michael Garlington was sponsored to create the piece “PhotoHouse” by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Andy Warhol Visual Arts Foundation at SF Camerawork. Black Rock Arts Foundation chose and sponsored his work as part of their Honorarium Collection at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada two years in a row, first in 2012 with EGO, a 20’ x 60’ x 4’ installation piece intricately blanketed with assemblage of thousands of hand-poured gilded relics. In 2013, Garlington designed and built PhotoChapel, the second installation for BRAF, an 8’x20’ Gothic-style chapel with a 40’ steeple, covered inside and out with his Black and White portraiture with an intricate interior replete with a gilded interior, an altar, a confessional and catacombs.