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Artist Mikayla Bader has studied artistic processes and materials in search of a genuine portrayal of the world around her. She tackles human essence and depiction in her work with a passion for the figure and portraiture. 

​Movement and energy inspire her work, mainly expressed through pastels and oil paints. These vibrant yet malleable materials grant as much control or looseness as desired, allowing for the exploration of realism and expression side by side. 

​Mikayla explores the sincerity of creation in striving to find a balance between reality and the imaginary. She believes realism lies somewhere between realistic depiction and atmospheric, gestural mark-making. The belief that we are constantly learning and changing in all areas of life and knowledge drives her artistic practices and experimentation.

She hopes to continue her professional exploration and experimentation with fine art and painting. She also progresses her illustrative and design abilities through the support of her freelance and contracted endeavors.

About  “Through the Looking Glass”

Through the Looking Glass questions our view of self and how we define life and the world around us. It seeks to explore the active and passive acts of reflection. Each work examines themes of reality, life, time, space, and physicality. Each serves as a confrontation, seeking engagement with the viewer visually and intellectually.

Set in the time and society in which we find ourselves today, we as individuals are both participants and sums of the space we inhabit. This show encourages the viewer to challenge their usual perceptions and perspectives of portraiture. Intuition, insight, and intellect have taken precedence over structure, formality, and tradition. This line of work questions why and encourages viewers to do the same.

The work varies from a series of self-portraits done through the reflection of a mirror to depictions of the younger self and family. After moving back to my childhood home, I began looking through the many scrapbooks my mom had made to document the family’s history. As I paged through, I noticed my reflection layering atop the plastic-encased sheets of old family photos. Seeing my reflection on the sheets led me to a similar introspection and thought processes that had consumed my brain while creating drawings I created from the mirror. This experience returned me to the aforementioned themes, sparking a continuation of this work through portraits of familial youth and my own. It guided the progression of thought to follow the ideas of modern psychology that place importance on childhood and developmental psychology. The work began with the current physical self through the mirror, yet scrapbooks allowed me to go back to the past to traverse my inner landscape further, learning more about the self.

Through the Looking Glass is a title with which you might already be familiar due to the writings of Lewis Caroll. Alice, central to Wonderland, serves as a parallel to both the work and self as I have embarked on a journey that would make me question my reality, sanity, and desires. When Alice traveled through the looking glass, a whole world lay before her on various journeys before returning.  As Alice set out in Carroll’s stories, this work is a journey; the internal landscape and psyche are the rabbit hole into the self.  Wonderland is full of anything imaginable, having as many twists and turns as we may imagine, just as the depths of a person can be. This work encourages the impossible to be imagined, believed, and sought after, just as these stories have. The power of the mind and soul is perhaps on a scale that cannot yet be understood, and Through the Looking Glass acts to catalyze accessing a more limitless way of thinking.

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