Micah Mariah, Where Traditional Meets Experimental

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

There’s just something about the quiet yet steady nature of Micah Mariah’s paintings that made me feel inclined to experience her art in person (safely of course). While primarily faceless on her own platform, Mariah embraces the fluidity of the human anatomy, sourcing her inspiration from people who, as she states, are “a big portion of [her] life.” We lounged on the floor of Mariah’s bedroom in her newly-moved apartment, chatting about her dexterous father, and how she recounts drawing eyes at three years old.

A melancholic blend of realism and exaggeration, Mariah’s oil paintings incorporate a sense of a movement and beauty in the human figure, though beauty itself is highly debated. Mariah heavily relies on color theory and tone to evoke perception, stating that she “[doesn’t] want art to be beautiful, but to provoke thought.” For Mariah, her technique and style focuses on detail and color value in order to capture daily life. She’ll often use existing, or residual paints in new pieces or repurpose material in order to reduce waste and costs.

For years Mariah had to evolve her approach during a time in which she claims traditional art is “dying.” She, among many artists, feels the immense pressure to digitize her work and compete with now oversaturated algorithms. Further, social media has not made modern artists immune to censorship issues, plagiarism, and copyright guidelines that play into effect individual agency.

To keep up momentum through a traditional art form is a daunting responsibility. Mariah states that often she feels the “paralysis of the pressure to post,” and recognizes the difficulty of exposure for unknown talent. However, when asked about the future risk of erasure and an unrecorded history, Mariah asserts that “everything’s recorded but the timing of art resurfacing could be off.” Further, Mariah hopes to see a near future of in-person art showcasing, noting that it’s these interpersonal interactions that have helped propel her momentum as an artist.

Micah Mariah’s work can be found at micahmariah.com or her Instagram @micah_mariah