Artist Statement & Biography



The assumption that objects are discrete and autonomous is a misconception that I try to challenge in my work. This idea pervades every aspect of our lives, even our perceptions of the body. Through closely examining natural and manmade infrastructures it becomes abundantly clear that such an autonomy does not exist, and everything is interconnected in a vast, complex ecosystem. Through a multidisciplinary practice that includes mixed media, installation, and performance, I image a world where everything exists simultaneously permeating, fragmenting and intertwining into each other.

I work primarily with found objects, recycled materials and organic detritus that I collect from various natural and commercial sites around Brooklyn. I combine these materials with various industrial and household paints and adhesives through processes that embrace destruction and chance and test the physical limits of whatever I am working with. I often use extreme methods such as fire, pickaxing and sledgehammering to break down objects so they can be reassembled anew, fusing them with other materials in the process. In my work, my response to the object, material or environment often determines the final outcome. My goal is to destabilize, invert and reconfigure binaries such as interior and exterior, back and front, body and environment.

Through my art, I suspend the idea that everything is discrete as a starting point for redefining our relationship to ourselves and the other. I aim to connect to the viewer through physical, psychological and spiritual encounters with the work rather than through recognizable imagery. By expanding our conceptualization of objects such as the body, I hope to reveal the underlying structures and overlaps between things and perhaps look toward the imperceptible.




Michael Watson is a multidisciplinary artist who engages with found objects and natural materials such as plywood, rice and fire to produce process-based abstraction, installations, and performances that embrace destructive and regenerative processes. Through his work, Watson explores the space between being, substance and imperceptibility through the use of rice and other objects as a substitute for the body.

Watson received an MFA in fine arts from Parsons School of Design in 2013 and a BFA in painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2006. His individual and collaborative work has been exhibited in spaces throughout the US including the Gowanus Open Studios, Gowanus Dredgers (2018), LaBodega Gallery, NY (2018), Hunterdon Art Museum, NJ (2017), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, NY (2015,16), Brooklyn Museum (2014-15), Leila Heller Gallery, NYC (2014), SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA (2014), Strange Loop Gallery, NYC (2014), Ideas City Festival via AiOP affiliated with The New Museum (2013), The Kitchen, NYC (2013), Governor’s Island Art Fair, NYC (2012/13), and the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN (2006). His residency experience includes Arts, Letters and Numbers, Averill Park NY (2017), AIR Program 4heads Organization, NYC (2013) and the New York Studio Program, NYC (2006). Currently he is participating in the ChaShaMa studio program at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. 


artist resume


Parsons School of Design, New York, NY

Master in Fine Arts, with Departmental Honors, 2011 - 2013 Thesis: Infinite Expansions: Touching the other through the Flesh

Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Bachelor in Fine Arts, Painting, 2002 – 2006 Thesis: The Chemical Encounter

AICAD New York Studio Program, New York, NY

Grants, Awards and Residencies



Arts,   Letters & Numbers Residency Program, Averill Park, NY


ChaShaMa   Studio Program, New York, NY


AIR   Residency, 4Heads Organization, Governor’s Island, New York, NY



Departmental   Honors Candidate, MFA Fine Arts, Parsons School of Design



Graduate   Dean's Scholarship, Parsons School of Design



The   New School University Merit Award, Parsons School of Design



The   New School University Merit Award, Parsons School of Design



University   Scholars Award, Parsons School of Design



Third   Year Excellence Scholarship, Art Academy of Cincinnati



New   York Studio Program, AICAD, New York, NY, Art Academy of Cincinnati   Nomination



Best   of Show, 17th Minumental Exhibition, Art   Academy of Cincinnati



Merit   Based Scholarship, Art Academy of Cincinnati


Award   for Creative Merit, An Artistic Discovery Congressional Art Competition, US   Capitol Building, Washington, DC



Best   of Show, Tennessee Valley Fair, Knoxville, TN



Energy   Award, Governor’s School for the Arts, Middle Tennessee State University



Marie   Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, Colorado College, CO

Select Solo or Two-Person Exhibitions



Afterlife:   Gowanus (performance), Gowanus Open Studios,   Gowanus Dredgers, Brooklyn, NY



Transmute,   Gowanus Dredgers, Brooklyn, NY


Resilient   Bodies, La Bodega Gallery, New York, NY



The   Dwelling Place (performance), Interval: Musical   Recital + Art, National Opera Center of America, New York, NY



After   Life (performance), curated by S. Jimenez and J.   Yumang, Strange Loop Gallery, New York, NY



Hideout,   Governor’s Island Art Fair, New York, NY



Son   of Adam, Java, Knoxville, TN

Fabric   Portraits, Birdhouse Gallery, Knoxville, TN



Promised   Land, Antarctica: Poetry, Performance and Art   Series, Host Gallery, Knoxville, TN



Eating   your own, Fundamentals of Dance Performance   Program, Art Academy of Cincinnati

Select Group Exhibitions

2017 RE: pattern, curated by Johnny Thornton, La Bodega Gallery, New York, NY

The Art of Construction, curated by Lovina Purple, Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, NJ  Via Dolorosa, curated by Daniel Mease, Resurrection Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY DEBTFAIR, OCCUPY MUSEUMS: Whitney Biennial 2017, Whitney Museum, New York, NY

The Best of New York, Asian Youth Leadership Organization (AYLO), KAAGNY HQ, New York, NY 2016 The 6th Annual Parsons Alumni Exhibition, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, New York, NY

ChaShaMa PreGala, 1 World Trade Center, New York, NY Ars Nova, Tabla Rasa Gallery, New York, NY

2015 The 5th Annual Parsons Alumni Exhibition, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, New York, NY

In Remembrance of Me (performance), What might be left to say, Brooklyn, NY, curated by P. Templeton & AM DeBrincat

Bearing image, CFW Art Gallery, Redeemer West Side, New York, NY

2014 Look At Me, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, NY - curated by Beth DeWoody and Paul Morris Eating Cultures, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA - curated by Michelle Lee

2013 The Intelligence of Things, The Kitchen, New York, NY - curated by Jess Wilcox and Wendy Vogel Present Futures, Mandrake Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2012 Over Sensitive, 25 East Gallery, New York, NY 2011 Golden Doodle, Fireproof Gallery, Knoxville, TN


Select Collaborative Projects

2018 Mutual Permeability, Spring Break Art Show, ChaShaMa Space to Create Program, New York, NY (with artist John SH Lee)

EMERGENTENSION, La Bodega Gallery, New York, NY (with John SH Lee)

2015 9-5, by performance artist Ernesto Pujol, Pavilion at Brookfield Place, Commissioned by More Art and presented by Arts Brookfield, New York, NY (Contributing performer)

2014 Department of Accumulated Thoughts, Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Eugenie Tsai and Rujeko Hockley (Tatlo, performance collaborative group with artist Sara Jimenez and Jade Yumang)

2013 Time After Us, by Ernesto Pujol, Crossing the Line Festival, French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York, NY (Contributing performer)

In Spirit, Strange Loop Gallery, New York, NY (Tatlo)

Department of Accumulated Thoughts: 14th Street Archive Division Overtime, Art in Odd Places: NUMBER, New York, NY, curated by Radhika Subramaniam (Tatlo)

Department of Accumulated Thoughts: Bowery Division, Ideas City Festival, The New Museum - Art in Odd Places: NUMBER, New York, NY, curated by Radhika Subramanian via AiOP (Tatlo)

2012 Keeping it in the Family, Glasshouse Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (Tatlo)


Leila Heller Gallery Knoxville Museum of Art Art Academy of Cincinnati Bearden High School

Tennessee Valley Fair Art Collection

Teaching Experience

Visiting Artist Workshop

Resurrection Arts Ministry, New York, NY, 2018

Visiting Artist Workshop

Parsons School of Design, BFA Fine Art, New York, NY, 2016

Teaching Assistant

Parsons School of Design, Photography, New York, NY, 2012 – 2013

Art Instructor, Co-Coordinator & Curriculum Advisor

Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, K-12 Education, TN, 2008 - 2011

Private Art Instructor

K-12 & Adult Art Lessons, Knoxville, TN, 2008 – 2011

Teaching Assistant

Bearden High School, Art Department, Knoxville, TN, 2006 – 2007

Professional Experience

Commissioned Artist and Business Owner

MDW Designs, New York, NY, 2017 – present

Records Manager

Peter Marino Architect, New York, NY 2014 – present

Head Preparator

Leila Heller Gallery, New York, NY 2013 – 2014

Photography Assistant

James Shanks Photography, New York, NY, 2013 - 2014

Part-time Admissions Counselor

Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, 2011 – 2012

Photography Assistant

Brooks Photography, Knoxville, TN, 2010 – 2011

Contributing Photographer and Graphic Designer

Cityview Magazine, Knoxville, TN, 2009 - 2011

Window, Mural and Sign Painting Business

Knoxville, TN, 2006 – 2011

Curatorial Projects

2012 Source Material, 25 East Gallery, Parsons School of Design Curator: Group Exhibition

2007 The Black Gallery Show, Host Gallery, Knoxville, TN Curator: Group Exhibition

This is my land, Fluorescent Gallery, Knoxville, TN Curator: Group Exhibition


Antarctica: Poetry, Performance & Art Series, Host Gallery

Co-Founder; Curator: Poetry Readings, Performance Events and Exhibitions

2005 Connected Creatures, Fundamentals of Dance Performance Program, Art Academy of Cincinnati Choreographer

Artist Talks



Parsons School of Design,   New York, NY

Rice and Fire, Tabla Rasa Gallery, New   York, NY



Parsons   School of Design, Momentum, Alumni Visiting Artists Series, MFA Fine Arts



Hunter   College, Focus and Motivation: Artists Presenting their Art, Lecture Series,   New York, NY



Roane   State Community College, Oak Ridge, TN

Walter State Community   College, Morristown, TN

Selected Bibliography

Mann, Mark. “Brooklyn is Everything: Artworlds Apart in a Gentrified Borough”. MOMUS: A Return to Art Criticism (December 2014)

Laramie, Emma. “Crossing Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum”. New York Minute Magazine (October 2014)

Puleo, Risa. "“Crossing Brooklyn” Reveals More About the Borough, Less About Its Art”. Blouin ARTINFO, (October 2014) Jones, Julianne. “Brooklyn Museum Unveils Latest Exhibit, “Crossing Brooklyn””. Side Project,

(October 2014)

Lee, Diana Seo Hyung. “Crossing Brooklyn”. ArtAsiaPacific (October 2014)

Serra, Corrado. "“Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond" at Brooklyn Museum," October 3 - January 4, 2015”. Art Summary: A Visual Journal (October 2014)

Regatao, Gisele. “Horses, Masks, Speeches and Other Art Made in Brooklyn”. WNYC (October 2014)

Johnson, Ken. “The Artist Next Door, ‘Crossing Brooklyn’ Local Talent at Brooklyn Museum”. The New York Times (October 2014)

Ya, Hel. “Tatlo Makes Art Out of Cubicles”. American FOBs (September 2014)

Boucher, Brian. “”Crossing Brooklyn” Highlights Borough’s Artists, from Bushwick to Bay Ridge”. Art in America (April 2014) Redell, Kaitlynn. “Performance Triple Threat: Kaitlynn Redell in Conversation with Tatlo,” ArtFile Magazine (June 2013)

Tan, Dion, Video: “The Intelligence of Things” at Parsons”, Blouin ARTINFO (May 2013)

Esther, Neff, “In Performance, Keeping it in the Family (24 hour performance at Glasshouse),” Contemporary Performance (2012)

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