Meet Michael Mittelman

DATE:  December 3, 2019     CATEGORIES:  Somerville Media Center Partnership

Michael Mittelman has a background in both architecture and fine arts, completing studio art degrees at Wesleyan University (BA) and Massachusetts College of Art (MFA), including a year-long architecture intensive with the Columbia University New York/Paris program. In the mid 1990’s, Michael was creating virtual reality sculptures and then realizing them in welded steel. At the turn of the millennium, he was creating interactive installations which explored the psychological elements of domestic environments. Since 2013, Michael has used digital fabrication to create sculptures that explore digital frontiers while retaining the analog properties of the materials. Core to Michael’s process is rapid iteration through early stages of exploration. His sculptures, installations, and digital art have been shown nationally, including at the List Center for Visual Arts and the deCordova Museum. He recently had a solo show at Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston and his work is in the Spalter Digital Art Collection. In early 2019 he created M. Stahl Custom Furniture and Lighting as a showcase for his home furnishings.

Michael Mittelman has been working at the intersection of the analog and the digital worlds for over twenty years. He has employed Virtual Reality, Internet art, interactive installation art, Augmented Reality, and various rapid prototyping technologies. Since 2017 he has been working in wood, creating sculptures and furniture inspired by nature and mathematics . In these works, the digital is represented by the computer-controlled router which cuts the paths. The analog is represented by the natural grain and patterns in the wood being cut. As in his past work, each piece begins as a concept sketched on the computer, which allows him to rapidly visualize and iterate the design. The cutter moves through the wood controlled by a computer. The grooves are entirely predetermined by the digital plans. The location of the knots, the pattern of the wood grain, and worm paths in the wood, however, are all left to chance. Future attempts at cutting the same piece will always result in a significantly different outcome.