Arts » Visual Art

Above the Surface

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Printmaker Michael Sean Holihan regards his art as "a diary, a journal . . . between me and what I perceive." Although their imagery may be very much of the world--madonnas recur in the five paintings he's showing at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Faculty Exhibition--his works are ultimately reflective. Whereas Pop Art is all about surfaces, Holihan's work is about what transcends them.

Part of that interest in an inner world, one that is both obscured by and revealed through the visual, probably arose from his own deceptive appearance, says Holihan: "A lot of people see my work, and because I'm a pretty good-sized guy, they say, 'I didn't know somebody like you could do something delicate like that,'" he says. "We have a side that we show and a side that we carry around.

"I do hope that when people look at the work, it transcends the visual and might let them reflect on something other than the religious. When I look at art, I look at things and ask myself would I like to own it, or would I like to have it around. I have a relationship with it that goes beyond things put into words."

Holihan, a professor of printmaking, grew up in Connecticut and has taught at the Institute since 1980. This is the first year the Institute's faculty show is restricted to full-time faculty, so full-timers have the chance to show more than one or two pieces. Past years have included part-time and night school faculty; the Institute's new president, David Deming, changed the policy. The show runs through Dec. 23.

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