Michael Shemchuk

Northern California, USA



Michael Shemchuk is an abstract artist living and working in Northern California.

Born in the blue-collar mill town of Lowell Massachusetts in 1954, Shemchuk realized at an early age that his keen eye for color and form, burning curiosity, and love of adventure would necessitate a departure from the culturally spare town of Lowell. Making a choice that was unpopular, Shem saw service in the military as his ticket out of the surroundings he found so limiting. Shem dove headlong into a world he had never imagined.

Largely self-taught, Shem did not emerge on the art scene in a conventional fashion. Following his native skills and sensitivities as an artist, his career has criss-crossed the world of applied arts and visual expression. Influenced by studies at the Academy of Art College and California State University, SF, Shem combined his love for photography, color, and abstraction. The result was an unusual amalgamation of interest and influences. Leveraging his practical skills, Shem supplemented his nascent career as a mixed media artist by practicing the craft of faux finish from the late eighties until 2000. His work from this period is evident in some of the most noteworthy homes and buildings in the Bay Area. With a keen eye for hue and value, Shem served as a color consultant to numerous architects and interior designers in and around Northern California. His day of reckoning came at the turn of the millennium, when he resolved to focus his efforts on painting and abstraction full time. With the support of his wife, noted interior designer Kathy Farley, he was all in.

Shem’s work has evolved over the last two decades, shaped directly by a close engagement with material and process. From the onset, Shem’s focus has been on abstraction and design. Influenced by his earlier faux finish work, Shem’s Meridian series, begun in the late nineties, used paint and plaster as primary media. In 2014, Shem became interested in the changes in art-making stemming from shifts in technology. His response was to re-evaluate traditional materials such as paper and paint, thus simplifying his approach to abstraction with the Tags series. In 2017, Shem was inspired to further his pursuit of abstraction and design by streamlining his materials and employing process as integral to his work. The result is his Surface Tension series, which is based on an organic process involving water, paper, pressure, friction, and time.

In addition to his art-making, Shem teaches the principles of Abstraction by Design (AbD) to students and fellow artists via workshops and private mentoring. His experiences as a teaching artist over the last four years have inspired and deepened his appreciation for creative community and collaboration.

Curriculum Vitae

1968-1972 Lowell Trade/Vocational School (Painting & Decorating)

1977-1980 Academy of Art College, San Francisco, CA (Photography)

1982 San Francisco State, San Francisco, CA (Mixed Media Arts)

1968-1972 Lowell Trade/Vocational School (Painting & Decorating) Lowell,MA.

1972-1976 United States Air Force: Hamilton AFB (CA) DET415 Chiang Mai (Thailand) Griffith AFB (NY).

1977-1981 Academy of Art College San Francisco CA (mixed media arts).

1981-1983 Photographer: Commercial/fine art. NYC.

1983-1985 Photographer: Commercial/fine art. SFCA.

1985-1998 Partner: ArtDecor. Speciality painting and design studio,SFCA.

1998-Present Contemporary abstract mixed media artist. Abstract Art teacher and instructor. 

2022 Bryant Street Palo Alto CA (solo)

2021 Pamela Skinner Group, Sacramento CA

2020 Pence Gallery, Davis CA (solo).

2019 Jen Tough,Benicia CA (Surface Tension event) Forre’ Aspen CO. Bryant Street,Palo Alto (solo)

2018 Triton Museum,Santa Clara CA (solo). Pamela Skinner,Sacramento. Jen Tough Gallery, Benicia CA.

2017 Melissa Morgan Palm Springs CA. Pamela Skinner ,Sacramento CA. Bryant Street,Palo Alto CA (solo)

2016 SOPA Fine Art BC CAN. (group) Bryant St.Palo Alto CA (solo) Richmond Art Center CA (juried) Grey Loft, Oakland CA (group) Forre’ ,Aspen CO (solo) Pamela Skinner, SacramentoCA (group)

2015 Campton Gallery NYC (solo) Bryant St.Palo Alto CA (solo)

2014 Pamela Skinner ,Sacramento CA (group) SOPA Fine Art, Kelowna CAN. (group)

2013 Forre’ Aspen,CO R.Morpeth Hopwell NJ Caldwell/Snyder SFCA (group) Bryant Street Palo Alto (solo)

2012 Howard/Skinner Sacramento CA (solo) Caldwell/Snyder St.Helena CA (solo) Bryant Street Palo Alto CA (solo) SOPA Fine Art BC Canada (group)

2011 Caldwell/Snyder Gallery San Francisco CA (solo) Cecile Moochnek Berkeley CA Art Resource Boston MA.

2010 Bryant Street Palo Alto (solo) OK Harris NYC (solo) SOPA Fine Art BC Canada (group)

2009 Howard/Skinner Sacramento CA (solo) Sopa Fine Art BC Canada (group) Madison Gallery La Jolla CA

2008 Bryant Street Palo Alto CA (solo) Ruth Morpeth Gallery Hopewell NJ Cecile Moochnek Berkeley CA Hang Gallery San Francisco CA (anniversary show)

2007 OK Harris NYC (solo) Linda Durnell Los Gatos CA (solo) Bryant Street Palo Alto CA

2006 Cecile Moochnek Berkeley CA(group) Gallery Moda Santa Fe NM

2005 Modern Masters Palm Desert CA OK Harris NYC (group) Artscape Walnut Creek CA (group) Linda Durnell Gallery Los Gatos CA Cecile Moochnek Berkeley CA (group)

2004 Augen Portland OR (solo) Tercera Palo Alto CA (solo)

2003 Cecile Moochnek Gallery Berkeley CA Tercera Palo Alto / Los Gatos CA

2002 Hang Gallery San Francisco CA (solo) Ceile Moochnek Berkeley CA (solo)

2001 Cecile Moochnek (group) 

ebay inc.* Rockwood Design * Endymion Systems * Francisco Partners * Wells Fargo Neurert Design * Adobe Systems * Werner Design Group * Half Moon Bay Country Club Joseph Giereck Fine Art * Hawkins Design Group * Lou Ann Bauer ASID * Borardus Group Pacific Design Group * Health Management Solutions * Seveno Real Estate Group Ted Boerner Inc. * Accenture * Symmetricom * Camino Medical * Aishti * Cisco Systems Intuit Inc.* Four Seasons,Seattle * Formuzis, Pikerskill & Hunt Los Angeles * Craford Consulting Metro Cafe SF Intl.Airport * Lalime’s Berkeley CA * Nordstrom Irvine CA 

1996 Art of California Magazine Silver Award

1996 Sunset Magazine California Design Award 

2012 FIA Flint Institute of Arts Flint Michigan

2016 Triton Museum, Santa Clara CA 

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