Brian Overley / Painter

My favorite view in town is when I’m walking to my studio in the morning. Straight down the street, it’s an unobstructed view of the cornfield at the end of the road. You see all the little houses, and then it just opens up into the Michigan countryside.
I’m at my studio by 8:15 every day. When I paint, I don’t start with an idea that I’m going to execute. It’s just a matter of heading out the door and seeing where I end up.

I work on many pieces at once. It’s like a dialogue. You reach a point when you’re conversing with someone where you pause for a while and nobody says anything. And then another thought enters the conversation that may be very intense and interesting. Sometimes I reach a point where I don’t know what else to do with it, and I put it away. I know it’s not finished. Then two years later, I’ll pull it out. It’s not efficient, but I’ve accepted that’s just the way I work. I’ve literally worked on some of my paintings for years because I work on them until they’re resolved. A painting will tell you when it’s done.

Essentially, I’m a formalist. My interests lie in the elements of a painting. What are the most difficult things to incorporate? Those are the problems that I want to set up and solve. My work puts seemingly disparate components together and then guides them to resolution. In this sense, the paintings need to feel inevitable. I pursue different ways of applying paint, disjointed colors, and often deliberately disrupt the tendencies of making a “beautiful” piece. Yet if you were to remove any element, the entire visual would collapse. I make the work look effortless, it has to look easy, but nothing is random at all.

We’ve been in Three Oaks for nearly 25 years now. My husband and I moved here for the house we live in, a 19th century Italianate historic home. We stayed because we’re surrounded by beautiful countryside and by people who are getting more interesting every year. And I love the energy of our downtown. What tiny little town has a theater that shows international and independent films? I grew up in a small town, and from what I know of them, Three Oaks is not like anyplace else.

Maker: Brian Overley
Product: Paintings
Social: @lavish_dmz