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A Seriously Laid-Back Kind of Guy

Article by Marya Summers
Published in Free Press - 1999
Florida, USA
Originally published in English.

This is another in the series of several articles written by the journalist Marya Summers for the Free Press about painter Michael Korber. This article titled "A Seriously Laid-Back Kind of Guy" was published in the Art Scene section.

Michael Korber A Seriously Laid-Back Kind of Guy

When you enter the home of Michael Korber, you know he's an artist. Nearly a dozen unframed and unfinished canvases are stapled to the walls, brushes and tubes of paint are everywhere, and sketchbooks are stacked three feet high.

Photo of a color study by artist Michael J.Korber in oil on raw duct canvas - title Nude
Nude by Korber - oil on raw duct canvas

There's no furniture because there's no room - the art has taken over. Korber doesn't even have plates in the kitchen. He gestures toward the living room, where the plates have evolved into palates.

“I don't have plates,” he says. “I use them to paint.”

Korber's friends describe him as “intense” but he calls himself "easy-going". Actually, he's both.

Ask him about his current show at Island Gallery, in the Carefree Theater complex called “Recent Works” and he'll tell you, “I am a colorist. I work with line and color to create a marriage of figure and environment, but” Korber adds, “I'm finding a maturity,” then he laughs and confesses, “I sound like I have a big head.”

It's big enough that he doesn't feel a need to boast. Only someone who knows he's good could make a joke out of his press release - which for an artist is usually a stuffy multi-page document that touts him as the next Renoir. But Korber's press release is only three sentences instead of three pages, and one of those sentences is rather an odd joke: “Mr. Korber is perhaps best known for his role as Yorick in the Lord Chamberlain's Men original production of Hamlet.”

Mr. Korber is perhaps best known for his role as Yorick in the Lord Chamberlain's Men original production of Hamlet.

Photo of a Portrait of the artist Michael J. Korber  by Sonya Prather
Michael J. Korber by Sonya Prather

One of the serious sentences states that Korber attended the Pratt Institute in New York City. What it doesn't say is that Pratt is the only art school permitted to use cadavers in the students' study of human form. However, ask Korber about it, and he enjoys the shock value of telling gruesome stories of how he and other students saw heads and rib cages to study their form.

Getting serious again, he explains why studying a cadaver is so important to an artist.

"See the line running through the thigh there ?" Korber then traces the line in one of his paintings with his hand. “That's not just stylization. That line is really there in the muscle.” He turns sideways to show his own leg and the muscles that inspired the line. Guess you can learn a lot from a dead guy.