905-985-1322  |  303 Cochrane Street, Port Perry, ON L9L 1M4

Paintings by Michael J.B. Black


Informed by a late Modern interpretation of abstraction, my current practice involves working with abstract interpretations of landscape as well as abstraction in other forms.  At the moment, I am working through a series of abstractions called Remnants.  This series is a response to museum trips in Europe and at home, where artifacts of cultural veneration are preserved representing our fractured connection with the past.  The gaps and missing pieces of such objects are what I find most evocative in terms of their narrative.  In each case, I have tried to balance the pre-planned with the immediacy of the painting process itself, so that the images created are able to utilize abstraction’s ability to convey universal themes as well as variations in interpretation.

Michael J.B. Black graduated from the Ontario College of Art (now OCADU)  in 1984, and holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto. Michael has shown his work in Toronto, Hamilton, Charlottetown, Creemore, Thornhill and Peterborough. His work is held in several private collections. Michael lives with his Wife in Durham Region.

Click the thumbnails below to view artwork at full size

Artist Statement


Whether as a response to landscape or in terms of using abstract means to convey the ebb and flow of organic processes and our place in the world in relation to them, all of my work is intended to convey something of our complex relationship to nature, as it exists today. Since that relationship is ever-changing, the use of a language of creative means that moves between accident and control seems to me to replicate the relationship best, in both process and product. I am always hopeful that viewers will find some point of contact in what I do that will replicate this relationship to nature for themselves.

My current project involves the creation of paintings that I am calling Remnants, which are meant to be understood as metaphorical constructions that highlight what happens when the originating contexts used to provide the connections between objects and the ‘locations’ in which they were created are no longer available, having instead been provided with a substituted/imposed narrative or perspective. Often, a viewer in a museum is confronted by a disembodied fragment of text or architecture, which is helpfully explained by the accompanying text and/or ‘footprint’ through the provision of a paradigm of curatorial practice that is used to imply the way in which the artifact ‘should’ be understood. Does this explain what the artifact meant to the original creators, or those who used it? Similar questions can be asked in terms of a sense of place: when confronted by Aboriginal sites when developing a subdivision or a rubble stone foundation surrounded by old lilacs in the midst of an ’empty’ field, what is the tension between the narrative perspectives provided by the artifacts themselves verses those that are imposed upon them? These are among my current concerns.

Want to learn more? Click here to view Michael J.B. Black’s Resume.

Michael is represented by

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West
Hamilton, ON L8P 4S8

Phone: 905-527-6610

Arta Gallery

55 Mill St.
Suite 102, Bldg 9,
Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Phone: 416-364-2782

Canvas Gallery

950 Dupont St.
Toronto, ON M6G 1Z5

Phone: 416-532-5275


30 Abell Street
Toronto, ON M6J 0A9