too much, 2008
Photo: Nash Baker ©

Michael A. Salter
too much
6 November - 14 December 2008

An obsessive observer, Michael Salter finds meaning and beauty in the often, chaotic flow of information we encounter every day. At dollar stores, flea markets, secondhand stores, Wal-Marts, and countless other empires of corporate branding, Salter is attracted to logos, pictograms, and imagery that strike him as poignant, absurd, or baffling. These become inspiration for his own drawing project, an ongoing collection of graphic icons he has created in a broad range of media during the past seven years.

Salter incorporates another aspect of consumerism into his sculpture by re-using the molded Styrofoam used to pack electronics and other fragile items for shipping. This material which he notes is “difficult to recycle and unfriendly to the environment” becomes the building blocks for his monumental Styrobots. In too much, his installation at Rice Gallery, Salter will combine the Styrobot and his personal graphic icons in odd relationships of scale and placement. Says Salter, “In a lot of my work, there’s this kind of absurdly over-sized, bigger than life sculpture and at the same time, some very intimate experience. There’s something feverish, or off kilter when you’re observing something from twelve inches away and you back into a piece that’s looming over you.”


Michael Salter was born in Bristol, Connecticut in 1967. He received a BFA in sculpture and graphic design from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in 1992, and an MFA in studio art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1994. Solo exhibitions include Visual Logistics, The University of Texas, Arlington (2006) and Situations Unknown, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston Salem, North Carolina (2004). In 2007, Salter created a 22-foot tall Styrobot for Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon, a group exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, California. Salter’s work appears in Tactile, High Touch Visuals (2007), and Dot Dot Dash! (2006), books published by Die Gestalten Verlag, Germany, and in Grab Magazine (Italy, 2006). Salter is an Associate Professor of Digital Arts at the University of Oregon, Eugene.