Michael Mallard, 2015 FAFO Art Festival Judge

Michael-MallardMichael Mallard brings to Ocala a rich experience in creating and exhibiting his own critically acclaimed works of art as well as a distinguished academic career. Mallard’s work grows out of his own unique sensibility in response to a fragmented contemporary world. His work is new and fresh, yet linked to his own upbringing in Plains, Georgia, where his family has lived for five generations.

Timothy Van Laar, Professor of Art, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says, “Michael Mallard is a Southerner whose paintings, in an unavoidable comparison and generalization, embody the narrative traits of many Southern writers, particularly Flannery O’Connor. . . . [Mallard] takes delight in depicting the many masks, veils, and in fact the whole range of social deceptions with which people comfort themselves.”

Among his most prestigious shows and exhibitions are Art of the Spirit, Ashville Museum of Art, Asheville, NC; Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery, Nashville, TN; Lamar Dodd Art Center, LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA; Fact, Fiction, Fantasy: Recent Narrative Art in the Southeast, Ewing Gallery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN; and Searching for the Hidden, Cambridge, England, and Los Angeles, CA.

Mallard’s work invariably evokes strong responses. During his exhibition at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, Bernice Mancewicz, reporter for The Grand Rapids Press, wrote, “Of these, the paintings . . . [of] artist Michael Mallard stir the senses most. His images are exaggerated and almost grotesque. His paintings speak of the frailties of the human condition, not necessarily asking for sympathy or approval, but understanding and acceptance.”

Added to this impressive creative resume is an important academic career in teaching and administration.

As a teacher he works with students on many levels, first helping them to see the world around them in shapes colors and patterns free from cliché or pre-packaged images. As an administrator, he has revived the Union University, Jackson, TN, art department from a distressed department to a vibrant growing department. It grew from only two majors to one maintaining 60-plus majors.

Most importantly, Mallard took this art department to full accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Mallard enjoys students and is able to see their unique gifts and talents. He has a gift for bringing out the best in his students’ work. Students with little art experience are welcome in his classes as well as those who have extensive experience. He is a master at asking the right questions and making constructive suggestions.

As a successful artist, Mallard is delighted when his students surprise themselves with what they are able to accomplish. Happily, those surprises occur often in his classroom.