Michael Spafford

Auto-Biographical Statement 

I have been encouraged and aided by many people during my career as a painter.  My mother first expressed appreciation for my efforts to make pictures, and by the time I had graduated from Pomona College in 1959, the difference between making pictures and painting had become clear to me. 

My interest in art was stimulated by my studies of art history, philosophy, and classics.  My interests in painting were stimulated by the work of the abstract expressionists, the German expressionists, and Mondrian.  A class in early Netherlandish painting, taught with singular intensity and wonderful intelligence by the art historian and artist Teresa Zezzos Fulton, had a great impact on my emerging visual sensibilities.


After receiving an M.A. in art history at Harvard, I spent three years in Mexico City where I painted full-time and exhibited.  During these years I explored certain classic Greek mythological themes.  My interest in mythology as a visual framework for thought and feeling was intensified by the two years I spent as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, from 1967 to 1969.  Dualism, metamorphosis, the confrontation of opposites, the struggle for achievement, the ultimate failure of an heroic effort - each of these gestures is expressed in the myths I use.  My effort is to translate these gestures into abstract visual terms and pass their energy on to the viewer.


Please contact Alison@SedersGallery.com for a current biography of shows


February 4 -27, 2005
One Greek, One Trojan (the Iliad Series)

Michael Spafford’s new work draws on the Iliad for subject matter.  The show will include three large oils on canvas, a selection of paintings and drawings on paper, and a series of twenty-four new woodblock prints.   The mood of these works is dark – war shown as a series of violent physical confrontations between men rather than military action on a grand scale.  Spafford’s last solo show at the gallery was in 2000 although he has shared the space with Anne Hirondelle (2003) and Spike Mafford (2002) and also had a show of prints in 2001.   His work is currently on view in A Decade of Excellence:  Celebrating the Neddy Artist Fellowship at the Tacoma Art Museum (January 2005) and was included in Collaborations from the Elizabeth Tapper Print Workshop at the Museum of Northwest Art (2004), Les Fables de La Fontaine touring in Europe and the United States (2002-2004), and Northwest Views, Selections from the SAFECO Collection at the Frye Art Museum (2001).




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Paintings on Canvas Works on Paper Prints Father / Son Collaboration




Michael Spafford
Recipient of 2005/2006
 Visual Artist Award
Flintridge Foundation