Michelle Sider: Mosaics
As a Michigan-based mixed media artist, my detailed glass mosaics explore the themes of identity and of searching for a sense of place. My work is often recognized by a bold use of color, expressive content and a painterly style. I studied techniques locally and later with artists in Italy, Israel, Belgium, Detroit, Boston and Costa Rica to develop this style. Underneath each of my mosaics is a fully-completed and highly detailed original painting. For the past two years, I have been developing a series of mosaics titled “I am Yemenite.” Each of these works focuses on themes of identity, perseverance, faith and oppression. They are meant to challenge any perceptions we might have about immigrant peoples, and ultimately to share the story of Jews of Arab descent. I hope this series will spark conversations about the experiences of immigrants and minorities. The mosaics show the conflict between assimilating and maintaining one’s identity and provide a glimpse into the history of people of color living in different regions of the world. While “I am Yemenite” has been a major focus of my work in recent years, concurrently, I have been creating glass and gold mosaics that reflect light and often depict light-filled landscapes. These pieces change color as the light fluctuates throughout the day and express my gratitude and awe for the natural world and the importance I place upon preserving it. And my third mosaic series, “On the Side of the Road,” is a contemporary take on the beauty I’ve uncovered in everyday settings found while biking or hiking less traveled roads around Michigan. As an artist, I aim to capture elements of reflective light, movement and spiritualty in all that I do. I believe art can connect us to ourselves and to one another. Art has the power to heal the soul.