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Five Questions with Local Artists: Michael Pfleghaar

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"Arms," a recent work by local artist Michael Pfleghaar

"Arms," a recent work by local artist Michael Pfleghaar /Michael Pfleghaar

/Terry Johnston

These five questions have been posed to several different local artists, their responses create this series. First up, Michael Pfleghaar, local painter and orginal member of Tanglefoot Studios.


What do you do and why do you do it?
Mixed media painting and constructions.
I see the thread running through my work being about the paradoxes of painting. I can use paint to resemble color, light and space or I can create a construction with actual objects that mimic the painting process.  Materials can be used in different ways to present the painting as an object or as an illusion.  Figure and ground relationships can be manipulated to bring two opposing concepts together in one composition.  The suggestive qualities of abstraction that engage the viewer and deprive them of knowing exactly what something is, is what I find most satisfying about painting.

How long have you been doing this art thing?
All my life. Professionally, since I graduated from Grand Valley State University in 1989 with a BFA in Painting.

Can you imagine doing something else?
I am not good at anything else but art making.

Do you have an art dream?
My art dream would be to have an exhibition that would attract critical attention.  I guess a part of me searches for validation that what I do is worthwhile.   Something that would document and validate my art-making in the larger discourse would be a cool dream.

What do you think about retirement? Can artists do that? Are you planning on it?

Luckily I see what I do as never ending, something I would never retire from, I think most artists never retire from making art.  It would be nice to not have to make a living from only art making and I don't like the idea of art being a commodity.

More information on Pfleghaar's work can be found online at

Disclosure: The author is a local artist and involved with the local art community.

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If it weren't for Urban Lights, I probably would not have stopped in Rockwell's/Republic last weekend and therefore would not have seen Ruben García's beautiful playing card pieces. I've looked for his online portfolio but can't find anything. If you're taking suggestions for artists to Q&A, I request Ruben.

 I really wanted to see Reuben's work, but the bar wouldn't let us in because one of our party didn't have proper ID on them. It's unfortunate when people are denied access to art because of age or misplaced ID. 

You know, one of our party didn't have her ID with her either. We were the third group to stop by with that issue, and the bouncer acknowledged it and convinced management to make an exception for art. And he did a pretty good job; since he made that special request and R/R recognized that folks don't just come to booze, we were even more inclined to respect it.

Is this R/R's first time doing something like this? If it is, then hopefully this means they'll catch on fast.

I think it's a little messed up that you would need to call the manager to look at some art at a public neighborhood event. We tried to explain that we were only coming to look at the art...

Maybe, but perhaps that isn't a call that the bouncer can make. It's more on R/R than the bouncer; after all, the trade off of employment perks is responsibility and doing things regardless of whether you agree with them (former RA speaking here).

I'm not criticising the "RA" here, as much as R/R non-attempt to integrate with the rest of the neighborhood's festivities as a point of policy.