Michael Spafford

Michael Spafford

"Michael Spafford is one of the Northwest’s most original and compelling artists.  Always struggling against the facile and fashionable, Spafford has created a unique, monumental style that is a synthesis of powerful imagery and brilliant formal invention. 

He draws on his masterful draftsmanship and rigorous formal skills to create paintings that are psychologically penetrating.  His vision is a timeless one, conveying both an affirmation of life and a deep awareness of mortality. Spafford’s paintings are provocative, emphatic statements that haunt memory." - Bruce Guenther

"After receiving an M.A. in art history at Harvard, I spent three years in Mexico City where I painted full-time and exhibited.  During these years I explored certain classic Greek mythological themes.

My interest in mythology as a visual framework for thought and feeling was intensified by the two years I spent as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, from 1967 to 1969.  Dualism, metamorphosis, the confrontation of opposites, the struggle for achievement, the ultimate failure of an heroic effort - each of these gestures is expressed in the myths I use. 

My effort is to translate these gestures into abstract visual terms and pass their energy on to the viewer."  -- Michael Spafford

Icarus | 39" x 31" | oil on paper | c. 1960's

Leda and the Swan | 92.25" x 52" | oil on canvas | 1968

Odysseus in the Underworld | 60.75" x 78.75" | oil on canvas | 2012

Leda and the Swan | 40" x 30" | oil on paper | 1997

Odysseus Tempted by Sirens | 30" x 40" | oil on paper | 2008

Odysseus | 30" x 40" | oil on paper | 2008

Birth of Athena | 78.5" x 60" | oil on canvas | 2016

Leda and the Swan | 60" x 125.5" | oil on paper, diptych | 1996

Leda and the Swan | 40" x 30" | oil on paper | 1996

Odysseus | 40" x 30" | oil on paper | 2010

Lapiths and Centaurs | 30" x 40" | oil on paper | 1991

Europa and the Bull #6 | 40" x 30" | oil on paper | 1986

Lapiths and Centaurs | 61" x 79" | oil on canvas | 1992

Leda and the Swan Triptych #2 | 61" x 182" | oil on canvas | 1997

Theseus Fighting Centaur | 61" x 71" | oil on canvas | 1992

Birth of Athena #1 | 43" x 32" | oil on paper | 2011

Birth of Athena #3 | 43" x 32" | oil on paper | 2011

Leda and the Swan | 47" x 34" | oil on paper, diptych | 1967

Odysseus | 40" x 30" | acrylic on paper | 2010

Leda Triptych #1 | 39" x 30" | oil on paper | 1996

Linear Laocoon | 49" x 51" | oil over acrylic on canvas | 1991

Diver, Three Stages | 29" x 23" each panel (triptych) | charcoal & ink on paper | c. 1970's

Swimmer | 30" x 40" | acrylic on paper

Diver | 40" x 30" | charcoal on paper | c. 1970's

Swimmer | 30" x 40" | acrylic & charcoal on paper | c. 1970's

Swimmer | 30" x 40" | charcoal on paper | c. 1970's