Michael Velliquette (American b. 1971) is an artist who makes intricately constructed paper-based sculpture. Velliquette makes use of a humble, everyday material to open a view into imagined worlds.
Velliquette redefines the unassuming nature of paper by constructing objects that convey strength, intent, and durability, but which also require conscious observation and care. They are at once abstract layers and shapes made from colored paper, and also structures that from one moment to the next suggest fortress-like constructions, tiered mandalas, or complex mechanical gears. Cut exclusively and assembled by hand, Velliquette’s works can take up to 500 hours to complete.
In his recent series of paper cuts, composed of single sheets of paper, carefully sliced and folded, the artist emphasizes the physics of light, and the way a simple fold, lifted at a variety of angles from the surface, reveals myriad shadows, forms, and openings. Like his larger constructions, the paper cut works retain a mandala-like quality, as if carved in relief on a panel of a door or a box. Where the more built-up sculptures capitalize on the material’s strength, flexibility, and capacity to be easily molded, the paper cuts are pared down, vulnerable, fleshy in comparison. Thus we are invited to consider the surface and material thinness of the paper itself, where every detail of every incision is distinguishable, and there’s little telling what mysteries lie beyond.
A working artist for 20 years, Michael Velliquette has participated in over 150 exhibitions in museums and galleries in the US, Europe and Asia. His work is in the permanent collections of the Chazen Museum of Art; the Art Museum of South Texas; the Racine Art Museum; The Progressive Corporation; The West Bend Insurance Collection; The Abroms-Engels Institute for the Visual Arts; The Linda Pace Foundation; Boston Children's Hospital; The Pratt Institute Libraries; The John Michael Kohler Art Center; and The Microsoft Collection.
He has participated in residencies and cultural exchange programs including the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence; the SIM Residency, Reykjavik; the John Michael Kohler Art/Industry program; and EUARCA, Kassel, Germany.
In 2021 he will be an artist resident at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
He received his BFA from the Florida State University-1993, and his MA & MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison-2000.
As an educator Velliquette is on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches courses in visual literacy and creative practice. He also teaches workshops on the paper arts and was recently a visiting instructor at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft and the Pocosin School of Fine Craft.
He is member of the Guild of American Papercutters and the Paper Artist Collective—a global community of artists and designers dedicated to the medium of paper.
His work has been featured in numerous print and online publications including Colossal, Time Out New York and The New York Times. He has been included in several compendiums on paper art produced by such publishers as Thames & Hudson, Gestalten, Sandu, Lark Crafts, Hightone Books.
Two color monographs are available on his work titled Michael Velliquette: Lairs of the Unconscious (2012) and Michael Velliquette: What We Are Looking For is What is Looking (2017).
He lives in Madison, WI with his husband Tehshik Yoon, a professor of organic chemistry.