Michael Ohara

Taking inspiration from architecture and nature, my work focuses on geometric shapes. Some of my influences come from European cathedrals, Middle Eastern mosques, and Native American fabric patterns. My approach to these drawings and paintings is the same one that I have used over the years in the home building trade. I formulate a plan, carefully measure, and then begin the assembly process. I use Prismacolor pencils and a hand held ring template to create my designs. Mark making keeps my hands in constant motion, while at the same time allowing my imagination to roam free. I use this freedom to explore the endless possible color combinations, some of which occur unintentionally. 


I approach my paintings in a similar manner as I do my drawings. The only real difference is that all of my colors schemes are chosen in advance and do not change throughout the assembly process. I use acrylic paint applied by brush for the background and then use a stippling method to build up the surface to the desired density with an opposing color. The paintings are done in groups of four or more and each group can be reversed to form a different pattern. My goal is to create a large collection of groups that can be arranged in a variety of different ways. This idea came from a thought I had while looking at a quilt. I thought to myself, “What if I could rearrange the individual sections to change the overall pattern of this quilt?”  Ultimately, I would like to take my paintings and present them as an interactive work.


My process is very important to me. The beauty in the complexity of these structures has a meditative quality for me. While I am working on one piece, the design of the next one is being planned.  I feel that these designs are a rich area awaiting my investigation. I am creating a structure for the eyes to investigate, looking deeper into the work to find the less obvious details. The techniques I have learned in the construction trade are now the same ones I now use to create these drawings and paintings. This work is a further exploration of that building process which has always come naturally to me.