Aiken native puts work in perspective for ‘Retrospective’

Submitted Photo “Retrospective” by Michael Tice is the first art book published by New Lit Salon Press and Tice.

His artwork has shown around the United States for more than four decades.

Now, Aiken native Michael Tice has had his work pulled together for his debut book, “Retrospective.”

It starts out in the 1970s with some of his backyard surrealism-themed paintings and takes the viewer up to his more-current innocence and experience-based creations.

More than 80 of his prints were chosen for publication, according to a press release.

“Many of his images can be seen as a critique of the American dream. His enduring interests in the domestic space, childhood innocence and cultural nostalgia combined with his masterful use of color and texture brings to light an American past that, perhaps, only existed within the surreal landscape of the viewer’s mind to begin with,” according to the release.

Choosing what pieces to publish was not easy, Tice said.

For help, he turned to Jordan Scoggins, creative director for the book’s publisher, New Lit Salon Press.

Scoggins knew of Tice and had attended his New York gallery shows for years, he said.

“He has such an impressive body of work, an extensive exhibition history and has been consistently active over the decades,” Scoggins said.

“Retrospective” is New Lit Salon Press’s first art publication, according to the release. The book published in April.

Being so taken with Tice’s long-standing history, the publishing company decided to reach out to the artist.

“He had never put out a collection before. We wanted to change that,” Scoggins said.

“It’s really interesting to step back and look at your whole career as a body of work,” Tice said. “Us artists tend to get lost in the details, focusing on the current project and what comes next. It was nice to stop for a moment and recognize where this journey has taken me.”

Tice’s career can be traced back to when he was in high school. There, he read as much as could on art and artists, he said.

He attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia. There, he met Philip Mullen. He took one drawing class from him in 1973.

“We have remained friends ever since,” Tice said.

Mullen, who is retired now but “still painting,” wrote the introduction to “Retrospective.” The teacher recalled when Tice did “a beautiful, large drawing” one day during class.

“His skill with the medium was distracting, as other students could hardly work that day for watching him. When class ended, he painted solid white over the piece,” Mullen wrote.

Tice graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, going on to do graduate work at the University of North Carolina and New York University.

He has now shown his work around the South, as well as the rest of the country.

One of those places has been the Aiken Center for the Arts, according to his biography on New Lit Salon Press’ website.

His times in the South and the North have come together for his art, he said.

“Growing up in the South certainly had an impact on my work,” Tice said. “And my life in New York comes into play, too. So there’s this unique blend of the South and New York that finds its way onto the canvas in interesting ways.”

From oil on canvas, panels and paper to acrylics, watercolor, pastels and printmaking media, Tice will use whatever he feels is best at the time to create his pieces.

It was teacher Janice Martin who taught him that.

“She encouraged me to try different styles of making art,” he said.

“Retrospective” is probably not the last book from the South Carolina-originated artist, either.

“I have some more ideas and some exciting new projects to look forward to,” he said.

Tice currently lives in New York.

To purchase Tice’s book, visit the Apple iBookstore or www.blurb.com.

For more information on the book and author, visit www.newlitsalonpress.com/category/publications/retrospective.

Stephanie Turner has a hand on all areas of production for the Aiken Standard, where she reports, edits and lays out pages. She graduated in July 2012 with a journalism degree from Valdosta State University and lives with her family in Evans, Ga.