Michael Mewborn was born in Elberton, Georgia, grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and spent several years in Syracuse, New York before moving to central Virginia in 1973.
After two excruciating years studying chemical engineering at the University of South Carolina, Michael listened to his true calling and undertook a variety of jobs as draftsman, illustrator, typographer, layout artist, and graphic designer (and truck driver in the Army and National Guard) in South Carolina, New York, and Virginia. In his art, the most easily observed influence of these early experiences is in the draftsman-like precision of his carefully designed paintings. Mewborn’s art reflects his profound fascination with both geometric design as a pure art form and with random selection and perception of pattern.
During the 1970s Michael exhibited his work at shows and competitions all over the East Coast and was represented by galleries in Washington, DC; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Roanoke, and Lynchburg, Virginia. He designed wall graphics for IBM Corporate Headquarters #2 in White Plains, New York and for a variety of central Virginia companies, and his art became part of numerous private collections. By the mid-70’s he was creating commissioned pieces for organizations such as IBM and Westvaco. His art has been executed in a variety of mediums including acrylic paints, serigraphs, hooked rugs, needlepoint tapestries and Giclee prints. Many of his creations are constructed on large canvases with bold, deeply saturated colors, reflecting a connection between art and the nature of modern American culture.
In 1976 Michael found that his largest creation to date – a graphic arts company called The Design Group – would require his undivided attention if it were to survive. He put aside his painting and personal design projects temporarily to focus on running the business – and “temporarily” turned into nearly 30 years.
Following the sale of his company in 2004, Michael returned to his true calling and found a multitude of new contexts for his creative vision. Modern graphics tools, new printing technology, 21st century exploration of the nature of randomness and chaos, and even modern advances in evolutionary theory all serve to inform Michael’s new outlook. As in his earlier pieces, he offers the viewer a paradox in the mating of precise geometrics with random pattern selection, forcing the spectator to search for content or impose personal meaning on the work. Michael also focuses on a pre-set “universe” of colors and visual elements for each piece, which simultaneously imposes limits on the possible results and, by creating limits, emphasizes the difference between artistic vision and the basic craft – the nuts and bolts of brushwork, technique, and color selection – of painting.
Michael is married and has two sons, four granddaughters and two great-grandchildren who live in North Carolina and South Carolina.
His work can be seen in galleries in Richmond, Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia; New York and Watkinsville, Georgia; the Riverviews Artspace Artists Co-Op Gallery; as well as in his studio at #202 Riverviews Artspace, 901 Jefferson Street in Lynchburg (by luck or appointment).