About The Artist

Michael A. Malpass was born in 1946 in Yonkers, New York.

In 1965 he enrolled at Pratt Institute where he studied fine arts. Influenced by artists such as Theodore Roszak, Arnoldo Pomodoro and Alberto Giacometti he acquired an avid interest in sculpture.

While working on his MFA at Pratt, Michael was inducted into the U.S. Army to serve his country during the Vietnam War. Stationed in Berlin, and not having access to art materials, he improvised by stretching old Army tents into canvasses and created oil paintings of artists, musicians and other notables from the era, including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon.

Upon completion of his tour of duty in Berlin he returned to Pratt as an Instructor of Welding & Forge while simultaneously finishing up his MFA. His career commenced in 1977 when he had his first solo exhibition at The Betty Parsons Gallery in Manhattan. Meeting, knowing and gaining appreciation of Betty and her insights into the many aspects of the art world and their relative importance was indeed a landmark in his career. Just two years later Michael found his work prominently featured on the cover of the March 1979 issue of ART news.

Michael primarily explored the sphere using found metal objects. He would often say, “The sphere is the most perfect form. It is efficient, for example, with the most volume for the least surface area.”

Applying traditional blacksmithing techniques he literally manipulated tons of steel. The industrial shapes are composed of iron, steel, brass, bronze and copper that were forged into an arc and welded together to form the sphere. Ultimately they were ground and polished, wire brushed or painted. “In my work there is an element of discovery,” Michael wrote during this time. “For what I do is take what people have discarded, change the objects, rearrange objects, weld objects and grind objects to fit a sphere. I recycle but also elevate. The scrap is given importance because it becomes part of the whole and visually interlocks with the adjoining shape. It is, in a small way, revivalization.”

Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. Throughout the 80s, Michael produced hundreds of sculptures that simultaneously challenged and adhered to classical aesthetic standards. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats specifically throughout a body of work he affectionately called “Chickenmen”. These particular sculptures were reviewed in ART news in May 1984. Throughout the decade he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his sculpture, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions – including those from General Electric, Trammel Crow Company, Benenson Development Corporation and TRW. The year before his death in 1991 Michael was working simultaneously on four different commissions from The State of New Jersey, The State of Connecticut, Exxon/Mobil and The Hechinger Collection.

His vast, stimulating and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most respected sculptors of the twentieth century. Today Michael’s work can be found in major museums and collections around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the marketing endeavors of his wife Cathleen, in Brick, New Jersey.