Michael Banning

Michael Banning was born in Boulder, Colorado in 1966. He received his BFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Banning’s oil paintings and drawings of contemporary American urban, industrial, and domestic landscapes have been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York. His work has also been part of regional group exhibitions at several Midwestern institutions, including the Harold Washington Library, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, the Rockford Art Museum, the Kohler Art Center, the South Bend Regional Museum of Art and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, among others.

Between 1995 and 2006, Banning lived and worked in Minneapolis and was the recipient of grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation, from whom he received a Travel and Study Grant to study fresco painting in Detroit. Banning has also received grants from the City of Chicago, where he lived for a period of time. In 2016 Banning and his wife, artist Melanie Pankau, returned to Minneapolis. Banning now teaches drawing in the Fine Art Department at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

Artist Statement:

The paintings of Under Light and Leaves investigate familiar spaces and objects of the domestic interior revealed through specific qualities of light.

The geometric frames of windows, doors, and mirrors shape the light that floods these rooms and also reveal the connectedness of interior and exterior worlds.

In the sparsely furnished interior spaces, the presence of inhabitants is implied through the inclusion of house plants and other objects as well as the palpable sense of an embodied viewpoint. Someone dwells here with the simple task of caring for the plants, contemplating the objects, and bearing witness to the passing light.

The exterior spaces, seen through open windows, hint at the familiar patterned order of the built environment and its relationship with nature while also allow an escape toward reverie.

My intention with this work is to create a quiet and acute space of contemplation that hints at the world that breathes behind things.