My experience with picking up a found object in the streets of Chicago is as exciting as combining it with other ones previously discovered. These remnants obviously forgotten by time and seasoned by the phases of nature have a particular attraction to me. Their unique color, texture and warped form, cries out to me for a rediscovery. I see so much beauty in these abandoned objects that I don’t paint them or do any intervention to change their patina. I attach commentary and sometimes humor to my titles to convey the newly assembled piece’s conceptual underpinnings, which examine socio-political ethics, mental health, beauty and sexuality.
Michele Stutts is a Chicago-based, Black, contemporary fine artist. Born in Liverpool, UK, Stutts relocated with her family to the United States at the age of 11. Though her home in Liverpool was in the poor working class neighborhood of Toxteth, her new home on Chicago’s Southside seemed more impoverished and extremely segregated. The culture shock this caused greatly influenced how Stutts sees the world and the socio-political themes behind much of her artwork.
She received her BFA from Chicago State University and earned her MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. While a local and active member of ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation since 1991, Stutts has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She’s been teaching at the American Academy of Art College since 1990.
Stutts has worked with multiple mediums across the visual art spectrum, but has spent the past decade creating assemblages with found objects. Though the items used in her work are worn, broken, rusted and warped, they often add humor to pieces meant to address issues concerning beauty, mental health, poverty and sexuality.