Michael McGregor

Colors, Colors Everywhere

<em>Like a Sunday in T.J., It's Cheap But It's Not Free</em>, 2022, charcoal, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.
Like a Sunday in T.J., It's Cheap But It's Not Free, 2022, charcoal, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

In 2015, Michael McGregor quit his corporate job and moved to Mexico City, where the vibrant hues of his new home inspired him to reach for his colored pencils. “I hadn’t drawn anything since I was a teenager,” he said. The city “changed my perspective completely. I woke up to the colors that were actually in the universe.” Four years later, he moved to Los Angeles and began creating bright acrylic-and-oil stick paintings of flowers, as well as interior scenes inspired by the still life paintings of the Dutch masters and the early 20th-century Fauvist movement. The canvases are semi-autobiographical. “I grew up in a flower store,” he says. “My mom and all of my sisters and I would work in the flower store together so all of my work naturally stemmed from that.”

  • It's A Glamorous World (Salon Hodler, After LL), 2021, charcoal, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 34 x 42 inches.

McGregor’s series Private Party is currently on view at the Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery in Los Angeles. A white piano features in six of the show’s 34 works—a reference to the one his roommate purchased during the pandemic and to several of McGregor’s favorite Matisse paintings, all of which depict a woman seated at a piano. For McGregor, the series is a meditation on the spoils of excess. “I’m always interested in ideas of glamour and elegance, and that sort of seesaw where elegance and glamour can become decadent or hedonistic or maybe a little bit disturbing,” he says. “How can you treat elegance in a way that doesn’t feel so refined?”

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Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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