monster tits


Photograph by Teri Genovese


Michael Pfleghaar is an artist living and working in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his MFA in visual arts from Lesley University College of Art and Design, in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2011. Michael often depicts botanicals and still lifes, imbuing them with abstract elements and flattened space to create new perspectives.⁠ An influence of mid-century modern design can be seen in the clean lines, balance, and organic materials he returns to within his compositions.

In 2023, Pfleghaar was one of four artists chosen to have their work permanently installed as terrazzo floor designs at the Gerald R Ford International Airport. Michael was voted Best Visual Artist by Grand Rapids Magazine’s 2022 Readers Poll. He was also awarded The Best of Show in the 2021 Festival of the Arts and in the West Michigan Area Show at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo in 2020.

His artwork has been featured in Arcadia Magazine, Studio Visit, Metropolitan Home, Solace, and American Craft. Apple, HBO, CBS, ForeSee, Hayworth, and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts are a few of the organizations that have utilized Pfleghaar’s artwork as illustrations.

In 2016, Pfleghaar attended the Spread Art Artists Residency in Detroit, MI and in 2013 was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Ox-Bow School and Artists Residency in Saugatuck, MI. His work was included in the 2012 LGBTQ exhibition ReMix: Revisiting Appropriation, curated by Jonathan Katz in San Francisco, CA. His original artworks are in permanent collections including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Steelcase Inc., Herman Miller, the State of Michigan, and Grand Valley State University.


At a basic level, my painting practice has always centered around documenting my life. Early on I realized how the things we choose to surround ourselves with are a reflection of self. Inanimate objects have always been surrogates for the figure in my work. I tend to compartmentalize the elements and thus create conversations between objects. As an amateur collector of mid-century modern and contemporary furniture, lighting, objects, as well as houseplants, documenting what surrounds me becomes an archeological record.

My approach to painting straddles between representation and abstraction, embracing imperfection, simplification, hard edges, tension, and materiality. Inspired by the Japanese concept of Ma, I view the negative space as just as important as the positive space while referencing the picture’s flatness. Composing relationships between shapes and the edges of the picture plane is one of the design tools I employ to achieve this. Striving to capture the spirit of modernism through a painting’s objecthood is my goal.

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