Does the name Michael M. Ornstein sound familiar? It didn’t to us. Apparently, he’s a fairly popular actor, known for his work as Chuck Marstein on Sons of Anarchy. Any more familiar? We’re still not sure. Regardless, we found out about him because he’s also a painter. In doing research, it was not-too-hard to find that he has a recurring role on the FX show. How great is that? Funny enough, his work sounds like the total opposite of anything anarchist: they are colorful, post-impressionistic-abstractions/modern abstract impressionism portraits of people. They’re nice.
Ornstein’s paintings are very gestural and all about people (“people”). The people aren’t people who are necessarily placeable in a specific time period or society: they are just faces that poke in and out of clouds of movement and color. They almost border on being the idea of a person, tying someone’s essence and personality into the environment of the work. Thus, only facial features, a vague outline of a face, or a soft glow of a person appears in the paintings. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have his moments of clarity, breaking from these color fixations to get detailed, Gauguin-like portraits.
He’s an artist who doesn’t quite seem to be in the present. Looking at his work, it is placeable in other eras and artistic movements. It’s always interesting to find artists who are working in a vocabulary that is very specific to a time period and way of thinking. Ornstein’s work is no exception, his being so interesting because he is incredibly varied with what he’s making (and there is a shit ton of work, too). For more on him, peruse lots of his work on his website and give him a follow on Twitter.