Michael Lacey returned to Liverpool in 2012 having studied Painting & Printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art, as he had a strong desire to contribute to the artistic and creative life of his home city. In recent years he have primarily focused on collage, exhibiting regularly in the North West and further afield, and growing a body of work which is thematically linked. These atmospheric, intricate works probe the boundary between fantasy and reality, and encouraging a lengthy engagement from the viewer.
Through collage Michael creates richly detailed scenes featuring grand architectural follies and coastal landscapes littered with the flotsam and jetsam of a ruined civilisation. Rusted machinery, oversized classical sculptures and washed-up coffins sit in the shadows of great towering mega-cathedrals and crumbling bridges. A fragmented, elliptical narrative emerges between the works, encouraging an inquisitive and exploratory interaction. These dense and complex works utilise familiar, tactile materials in the service of creating vividly unfamiliar images. In this way, the collages mirror the language of dreams. His aim is to shift the viewer into a different state, for the works to project an atmosphere of contemplation. The work is inspired by the tectonic forces underpinning daily life – the shifting balance between nature and progress, the real and the ephemeral, and the struggle to find a purposeful and rewarding existence in a turbulent world. The universality of these themes, and the undefined symbolism in the imagery, encourages viewers to project their own interpretation onto the work.
In 2015 Michael was selected as the winner of the Editions Merseyside Open exhibition. From 2015 until 2019 he worked at Bluecoat Arts Centre as a Volunteer Coordinator, working hard to ensure that the volunteer programme was accessible, welcoming and provided genuine opportunities for volunteers of all social backgrounds to further their professional development, something he is passionate about. In 2019 Michael was selected for the group exhibition Liverpool 2028 by Dot Art and Bido Lito, resulting in a year’s representation by the Dot Art Gallery, with whom he has begun selling prints of his work. Later in 2019 Michael completed a residency at Tameside Local Studies and Archive Centre, supported by Manchester City Council, as part of the Peterloo anniversary commemorative celebrations. The public artwork resulting from this residency will be unveiled later this year having been delayed by the current circumstances.
More recently Michael has been creating music, including 9-track album of ambient soundscapes for the Royal Standard exhibition Light Blue (2019). Intricate melodies and sweeping ambience create an inviting, meditative mood with a dynamic emotional palette, which animates and heightens the atmosphere of the 2D works. He is interested in finding more opportunities to combine these two aspects of his practice.