The Estate of Michael Mulhern
years with Cynthia-Reeves: 12
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
Philadelphia Art Museum, acquisition, 2016
September 11 Memorial Museum, acquisition, 2014
Gottlieb Foundation Grant, 2001
Pollock Krasner Painting Grant, 2000
National Endowment for the Arts/Painting, 1988
Michael Mulhern considered painting a synthesis of object and surface. His abstract works on canvas and paper often employed dense contrasts highlighted by his use of aluminum paint – a notoriously tricky medium. His pictorial vocabulary – strokes of black, white and aluminum paint applied directly to raw canvas – came straight out of Jackson Pollock. But Mr. Mulhern managed to make something personal out of these familiar elements. His loopy lines of black and white have the feeling of intimate doodles blown up to mural scale; they are simultaneously awkward and graceful, like teen-agers not quite at ease in their adult bodies.
David Yezzi of ARTnews stated, “Mulhern gets a remarkable breadth of expression and lyricism from wistfully slender means.” Another review stated about a 1993 show of Mulhern’s work, “They are pugnacious and elegant paintings that make us think about the nature of abstraction itself.”
Born and raised in Scotland, working in New York Mulhern had been pursuing abstract painting for several decades. His work has been shown consistently to critical acclaim.