Receptacle, 2013. Bass wood. 84 x 84 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Oshkosh, WI

Overview

Michael Beitz skillfully combines furniture design and meticulous craftsmanship with the more conceptual concerns of contemporary art. Tapping into the cultural significance of domestic furniture, such as dining tables and living room couches, Beitz ultimately subverts each object’s functionality. In his construction of warped and elongated tables, knotted sofas, and looping picnic tables, the artist obstructs each item’s ability to serve as a site of social interaction, and thus transforms familiar household items into explorations of intimacy and alienation. Although humorous and playful, these works also speak to the complexity of human relationships and reveal deeper psychological impacts of our experience with everyday objects.

Biography

Michael Beitz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh. He received his MFA from the University of Buffalo in 2009. Originally from New York State, Beitz spent a number of years working as a furniture maker for artists and designers while continuing his studio practice. Beitz creates large-scale installations and sculpture inspired by the social, personal, and material functions of furniture. His work has been shown nationally, most recently at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.