Michael Ferris' recent body of sculpture and drawing deals with the manifestation of the two polar opposites of human nature, monsters and immortals.
Conceptually, Ferris' sculptural work stems from the idea of the immortal from Chinese mythology. Immortals begin as human but over time enlightenment transforms them spiritually and physically into beings that can travel between this world and other realms. The sculptures maintain their regular everyday names like Sam, Butch, and Jane even though they are visually and metaphorically something other than normal--a simple and direct way to suggest this duality.
All of the wood used in the sculptures is derived from recycled sources. This suggests rebirth and regeneration. The surfaces consist of small pieces cut and shaped to fit into an overlaid pattern. The coloration is a combination of the wood's natural hues and a pigmented grout made from sawdust, wood-glue, and acrylic paint. The end result is a clashing array of intricate patterns intended to be visually stunning, but also implies the psychological and spiritual complexity within.
The ink drawings are inspired by his reflections and deeply rooted ambivalence regarding the nature of empire. Ferris distills these impressions by employing a metaphysical narrative designed to communicate the mysterious and diverse character of humanity. For example, in the drawing Monsters and Immortals, two conflicting but interdependent themes are at the same time activated. Supremacy has enabled the wonders of life and culture to flourish while concurrently producing the social and personal contamination of civilization.