American artist Michael Bourque’s acrylic paintings are a thought-provoking mixture of abstraction, repetition, and improvisation. Bourque paints precise, incredibly intricate patterns that follow certain rules – up to a point. His lines adhere to the rules of geometry: straight edges, mathematically sensible angles, and shapes that fit together perfectly. His colors move according to the rainbow that makes up natural light: red next to orange, orange next to yellow. The hues are also saturated and pure, with no unruly in-between tones. A major factor in Bourque’s work is the juxtaposition of strong colors, aided by the liquid ease of his confident brushstrokes. Much of what the artist seeks to do is study patterns in a two-dimensional space, where the pure visual effects of line, shape, and tint can be understood.
Where Bourque’s work breaks out of the ordinary is in the little vignettes and flashes of genius that he allows to peek through the pattern. His pieces are large-scale both in physical size and in the volume of information they contain. One large canvas is filled with hundreds of little shapes; the pattern is allowed to play out countless times within one piece of art. As such, there is variation: a bright streak of blue where a yellow one belongs, or a vivid, thick line slashed right in the middle of an existing pattern. The effect is to invigorate the entire work, and to surprise and delight the viewer. Bright colors are made brighter and strong shapes are made stronger in combination with an unexpected element.
Bourque is an accomplished commercial interior designer who pursues photography and design in addition to painting. He seeks to find the intersections of these three disciplines with his artistic practice.