The Individual

For the last 43 years, I have been painting the theme of individuality. I am unique in that I edit out a lot of crap––accidental or boring stuff––and I leave my rage, rancor, and hurt feelings in the garbage disposal. I will work through the negative stuff outside of art either through introspection, sometimes but rarely with a therapist, but more often with mentors. When it comes to art, the questions are not how do I feel? They are where do I want to go? What is my goal? What set of emotions do I want to experience?

Human beings are amazingly complex and unique animals. We are guided by variations on God, our hormones, philosophies, sciences, laws, and emotions. All of which don’t wrap up into a tidy neat package. Yet we have an intense drive to have coherence, to be whole, to own the keys to life. Some of us seek nirvana in helping others, having children, self-sacrifice, self-indulgence, prayer, perfection, sport, community, sex, ideas, art, or poker. Often having the sad realization that the investment didn’t actually make us feel complete or feel at one with the world. Are we doomed to never feel fulfilled?  That we are on some ridiculous wild-goose chase? What is the point? Have any of us felt that special alive feeling of being in the perfect place at the right time?

I think everyone has had at least one moment of bliss, and that wonderful moment, was gone before one could grasp “what the hell just happened?”

Perhaps of all human activities, art is the strangest, not being literally practical, like mending a fence or eating breakfast. Art doesn’t have rules like the Ten Commandments or the drinking age. Art doesn’t tell you how to live or give you a textbook diagram. Yet, art might be the most important human attribute that can give us a sense of what it means to be breathtakingly alive.

Out of the chaos of billions of fleeting moments, I have made it my life’s work, as an artist, to contemplate the most meaningful moments of being alive. I definitely feel that to experience the greatest impact one has to excel in the awareness of one’s network of emotions, thoughts, and sensory awareness. To reach out and celebrate how amazing it is to be an immaculate running machine endowed with and confident in being a unique individual.

The following paintings are all about the individual exploring themes of discovery, exploration,  joy, contemplation, contentment, creative focus, being beautiful, pride, acceptance, giving, gratitude, appreciation, confidence, intention, litheness, and exaltation.

Newberry, Where No One Has Gone Before, 2018, oil on linen, 64x46"
Newberry, Where No One Has Gone Before, 2018, oil on linen, 64×46″

“Brilliant once again, Michael.”

Gordon Ecker, one of the great sound effects editors.

“Captivatingly beautiful!”

Irene Niehorster, Amazing Pinterest Page with 66K+ Followers
Newberry, Icarus Landing, 2000, acrylic on linen, 55x36"
Newberry, Icarus Landing, 2000, acrylic on linen, 55×36″

The delicacy and control are masterful, as is his ‘reclamation’ of two myths and — by his choice of theme and the delicacy and control with which he has handled it — making triumph out of tragedy. Incredible? It sure is. I find that as you study it (especially if you open the image see it as large as you can) , your eye changes from at one moment seeing the figure just hanging by its arms, and the next gently descending in space, and under complete control. That really is mastery in paint.

Peter Cresswell, Architect
Newberry, The Sculptor, 1980, oil on linen, 68x46"
Newberry, The Sculptor, 1980, oil on linen, 68×46″
Newberry, The Collector, oil on linen, 60x50"
Newberry, The Collector, oil on linen, 60×50″
Newberry, Promethia 2, 2013, oil on linen, 78x58"
Newberry, Promethia 2, 2013, oil on linen, 78×58″
Newberry, Venus, 2008, oil on linen, 48x48"
Newberry, Venus, 2008, oil on linen, 48×48″

How beautiful she is! She seems to be offering herself as her great gift to the world.

Barbara Branden, Author of The Passion of Ayn Rand

I am simply blown away by its beauty, here at the end of the journey. She is breathtaking … for once I’m at a loss for words. Thank you for that.

Jennifer Iannolo, Author, Lecturer, and Entrepreneur
Newberry, God Releasing Stars Into the Universe or The Gift, 1999, oil on linen, 82x60"
Newberry, God Releasing Stars Into the Universe or The Gift, 1999, oil on linen, 82×60″
Newberry, The Slipper, oil on linen, 46x46"
Newberry, The Slipper, oil on linen, 46×46″

Slipper is one of my favourites by artist Michael Newberry, who like all great literary and visual artists has the ability to conceive and create scenes of total originality that – just like the great myths and legends that had the dramatic power to last thousands of years in the retelling —  once seen (or read) the world is inconceivable  without them.

Peter Cresswell, Architect
Newberry, Synergy or To Receive, 1999, oil on linen, 82x60"
Newberry, Synergy or To Receive, 1999, oil on linen, 82×66″
Newberry, Idyllwild Icarus, 2017, oil on canvas, 60x48"
Newberry, Idyllwild Icarus, 2017, oil on canvas, 60×48″
Newberry, Reaching for the High Note, 2018, oil on linen, 46x26"
Newberry, Reaching for the High Note, 2018, oil on linen, 46×26″
Newberry, Lynia Wearing a Hat, 1981, oil on linen, 36x28"
Newberry, Lynia Wearing a Hat, 1981, oil on linen, 36×28″
Newberry, Rob I, 1977, oil on linen, 48x40"
Newberry, Rob I, 1977, oil on linen, 48×40″
Newberry, Jette, 1977, oil on linen, 48x38"
Newberry, Jette, 1977, oil on linen, 48×38″
Newberry, Unbearable Lightness of Being, 2017, oil on canvas, 36x58"
Newberry, Unbearable Lightness of Being, 2017, oil on canvas, 36×58″

“Lightness” is right—she’s floating on a cloud! That’s what it feels like. Once the delicious Dionysian intoxication started to fade and I regained my ability to look at something besides her, “the cloud” revealed itself to be a fluffy comforter. I would imagine that achieving cloudness was facilitated by your choice of a monochromatic palette. Your work is not about words. It’s the cure for words, the antidote—which is true for anything sublime. I love how comfortable she is in her own skin, neither self-conscious nor exhibitionist, content to just “be”. Like your Venus, she is unaware of our gaze; she is not there “for us”, she just IS.

Rick Barker, author “Transcending Evolution”