Biography & Research
Artist Michael Oatman calls his practice ‘the poetic interpretation of documents’. His collages and installations integrate thousands of found, modified and handmade components, including artifacts of material culture, painting, drawing, video, and food. These architectural ‘unvironments’ have been installed at museums, public spaces and private homes. His installations are ‘context-specific’, and demand from him a total immersion into physical location, sonic/haptic realms, local history and the personal stories of those he encounters while working. He has exhibited extensively in the US and abroad.
Oatman received his BFA from RISD, and his MFA from the University at Albany. He has taught at Harvard, UVM, UAlbany St. Michael’s College and Vermont College. He has been a visiting critic at RISD from 1986 to the present. Since 1999 he has been a faculty member in the School of Architecture at Renssealer.
Oatman offers seminars on Marcel Duchamp and Alfred Hitchcock, and specializes in studio courses where students build projects at a 1:1 scale. He teaches drawing, thesis, and helps students toward the realization of their own research. In 2004 he began working with gifted students from RPI, Skidmore, SUNY and other schools under the name of Falling Anvil Studios.
Current projects include All Utopias Fell, a permanent commission for MASS MoCA, open until October 2020; a recent book for graphic design firm id 29 and a long-term outdoor video environment. He is represented by Ellen Miller in Boston, MA; Lenore Grey in Providence, RI; and Stremmel Gallery, Reno NV. In 2003 he won the Nancy Graves Award.