Harman Projects Presents “Louis ‘Masai’ Michel: The Message”




Louis Michel ‘Hammerheads Caught in Ghostnets’ Image courtesy of the artist and Harman Projects

Harman Projects is pleased to present The Message, a solo exhibition by United Kingdom-based artist Louis “Masai” Michel. This will be the artist’s first solo presentation with the gallery.

For the past three years, artist Louis “Masai” Michel has been living on the south-eastern coastline of Margate, England. His proximity to the coast has informed the environmentally conscious artist’s practice, resulting in a new body of work exploring our relationship with plastic items that often end up as trash in the sea.

Louis Michel ‘Stuck in a Plastic World’. Image courtesy of the artist and Harman Projects

The exhibition incorporates several distinct series’ of artwork including a group of paintings of marine species that have been directly affected by ocean plastics, several text-based artworks bringing attention to specific types of plastics that often make their way into sea, and cyanotype prints of beach-found seaweed that have been hand embellished with paintings of fishing net.

Over the past three years, Michel has been collecting refuse from the beaches of Margate, saving the plastic items and melting them into letterform moulds in order to create his text-based artworks. These still recognizable trash items forming these works, hammer home the urgency of the artist’s message.

The artist states “These plastics only arrive in the ocean because of humans and the only way to stop it from continuing and to remove the plastics is for humans to step up. The Message, a play on the famed ‘message in a bottle’, highlights some of the major plastic villains. From fishing nets to plastic toothbrushes and bottles. Two paintings of shark species (Thresher and Dogfish) stuck in plastic bottles, reinforce the origins of the shoe title…”

Louis Michel ‘Sea Dragons Caught in Ghostnets’ Image courtesy the artist and Harman Projects

The Message features multiple installation elements including an interactive piece where viewers are encouraged to reflect upon their relationship with plastic and to write an affirmation as a reminder to reduce their plastic use; and place it inside one of many recycled plastic bottles hanging within the gallery.

Please join us Saturday, March 11th at 210 Rivington Street, New York, NY for the opening reception of The Message from 6pm to 8pm. The artist will be in attendance for a print release of Who Needs Badly Made Plastic Cutlery?, pictured above as well as a free mini print giveaway available while supplies last!

About the artist ~ Louis Michel, formerly known as Masai, has perfected a patchwork quilt, plush toy aesthetic in his paintings. The work highlights species extinction, biodiversity collapse and speciesism. The artist will be taking residence in New York city during March, painting murals in the public domain pertaining to the topic of his solo exhibition at Harman The Message. Follow the artist on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Louis ‘Masai’ Michel ~ The Message will be on view from March 11 to April 1, 2023 at Harman Projects, 210 Rivington Street, NYC. There will be an Opening Reception on March 11th from 6:00 to 8:00pm.