Michael Asbill

Aluminum Rowboat, Sandbox
12' tall x 6 ' wide x 4' deep

Michael Asbill (b. 1967 Fredonia, Kansas) is an installation and public artist who lives and works in Accord, New York. Recent exhibitions include Samuel Dorsky Museum (New Paltz, NY), Locust Grove: Samuel Morse Historic Site (Poughkeepsie) and GAS (Poughkeepsie). Asbill has created public artworks for the Oregon City Elevator (Portland, Oregon), the Poughkeepsie Train Station, and the Walkill Valley Rail Trail (Gardiner, NY). He co-directs the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art in Kingston, New York, and is a founding member of Mettacamp, an intentional community dedicated to sustainable living and the Arts. Asbill holds an MFA from the University of California, San Diego and a BFA from the University of Arizona.


SALVAGE is a series of installations made from road kill, abandoned swimming pools, and leaky rowboats. With this artwork I explore themes of reclamation and renewal.

I start with ruined subjects and proceed to cancel out any vestige of their practical use. I shoot them with guns, electrify them, bleach them, and turn them upside down.

The process of negating can also be the primary act of revitalization. “Practice Vessel” is an aluminum rowboat that was shot 6,000 times with a.22 caliber rifle. Hunting attacks fishing. The boat, which is stood on end like a shrine, is now an object of reflection – a contemplation of Andy and Opie nostalgia, male violence, and meditative repetition.

I study my subjects thoroughly, even scientifically, in order to best express their revitalization. “Salvage” (which shares the name of the series) involves the identification of bones from deer killed on the highway and rearticulating them as a peacefully grazing herd.

All of my installations are compositions of decomposition. Erosion and rot are active natural processes that are alive in my subjects. “Deep End” is a project in this series where the decay of a deserted and neglected swimming pool is systematically photographed and presented as a giant map reminiscent of aerial and satellite photographs taken of our planet.

Ultimately, a long and distinctive road is traveled to develop each of the artworks in this series, but they are bound by a core impulse to recycle, a fascination with decay, and an insistence that nothing dies.
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