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Michael May
Ten Valiant Efforts
December 2 - 30, 2011

Painter Michael May presents a new group of paintings in Ten Valiant Efforts. In this group of paintings May is depicting experiments developed by a fictional harmless lunatic. The picture plane is split into segments, each showing a different stage in the experiment. By moving from segment to segment the viewer is able to unpack the experiment piece by piece.

In order to learn how May’s character, Samuel Hambone, thinks and functions he used the Enneagram Personality Test. According to the Enneagram, he is a “Type 5,” which means he has a great desire and capacity to assimilate information. He prefers to spend time alone researching his interests and increasing his knowledge. His basic need is to be capable and competent. However, he also has developed schizoid personality disorder, which means he has a heightened sense of self worth and can’t think clearly. Thus he has created a small world for himself, in which he is a successful researcher solving many of the world’s problems. May is interested in the way in which his character’s inherently good personality trait is negated by his mental illness. Each painting depicts the process of one of his experiments. They are developed based on idioms and common ideas like the idea that men don’t know anything about women or that cameras capture people’s spirits. In Samuel’s mind, he is curing the world by solving problems like these one at a time and imparting knowledge to those who will listen. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that each experiment is a failure and no one is listening.