Michelle L. Purvis


My paintings are directly impacted by my past. Where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and the moments that have influenced my life all reappear in my work. The concepts of home, moving and travel all guide my work. Through my paintings, I explore questions I have about life, my relationships, my impact on world, and how I can honor my place on this earth.

My earliest memories are seen through a car window, watching the tall evergreen trees pass from the back seat fathers black Chevy Blazer. I grew up in the northwest with a father who built homes for a living. We often lived in new homes, with minimal personal belongings. I learned to enjoy exploring new places and held little attachment to personal possessions. The only thing ever lost from that time that I held dear was a sewing machine that had been handed down to me by my grandmother.

Today, I often use sewing to help create of my visual language. I incorporate thread as texture in my work, and as a means to symbolize adjoining ideas or putting things back together that may have fallen apart. I take pleasure in creating new lines and blending forms with a variety of materials.

My creative process begins by carefully selecting materials. Reusing and reclaiming objects is an important component of my life and work. Salvaged, discarded bits sit in my studio influencing me and the pieces being made around them. These materials range from reclaimed wood, canvas, and paper, to old hardware from construction projects I have worked on.

My line is made by many materials but is consistently describing my spirited independence. As it flows it can stop at any moment with a harsh angle. It continues on finding new ways to articulate my perception of the world. There is an energy to my method. Oftentimes I start ten pieces and let them sit in the studio for a while. I look them over to better understand where they need to go while I let the process guide me in any direction. Sometimes a year will go by before I pick up a piece to find it just needed one line to be completed or needed to be taken apart and put back together. 

Michelle L. Purvis


1306 N. McClellan St.

Portland OR 97217



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