Human Figures and Movements: Art by Michael Lightsey

A digital painting of abstracted human figuresHercules and Hylas, digital giclee print

Michael Lightsey’s vast portfolio is filled with both abstract and figurative works that exemplify the artist’s quest to document and understand human figures and movements. Working in traditional and digital media, Michael explores configurations and ways of portraying humanity.


An abstract painting taking dance moves as its inspirationUntitled, (a paint and dance trio with Lissa Resnick and Chris DiBiase)

I’m impressed by the way that Michael can so effortlessly switch between abstraction and figurative art. In his series of portraits, the artist takes a fairly simple and straightforward approach to his art form, drawing expressive faces with great attention to detail and texture.


A screen capture of a painting gallery on Michael Lightsey's websiteA selection of Michael's figurative paintings

Michael’s abstract paintings remind me a little of the works of Leif Timber, who also uses this style of wild abstraction to convey human figures and movements. Often in Michael’s works there is barely a hint of a human figure – his Dance Action Paintings rely on the movements of a dance to convey the paint across the surface, so the depiction of the human figure becomes conceptual more than literal. 

A black and white pencil portrait of a young womanDeborah, pencil on paper

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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