Instagram Recap: Micah Cash

The Southern Glossary Instagram account is curated by a new artist or photographer each week. Every curator will put their own spin on the account, showing off work, their process, and their surroundings. Here's a Q&A with last week's curator, painter & photographer Micah Cash.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina  Website: micahcash.com  Instagram@micahcash

How did your interest in your medium begin?

My engagement with painting continues to be one of process. It is what initially drew me to the medium and continues to surprise me every time I walk into the studio. It is a long-term relationship to material. There are no rules except to find some form of resolution, a give and take conversation that can last months on any painting I am working on. However, my painting process significantly shifted once I seriously began making photographs almost two years ago. I have a serious love of telling stories, and when my work shifted toward landscape, I had a difficult time separating my experience from the experience of those who live and work in the locations I was exploring. Photography allows me to investigate and interpret the social and cultural narratives that I have no interest in painting, but have significant interest in understanding and communicating. Over time, photography has become an essential element to my studio practice.

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

As an artist, you’re always observing the world around you in some form or another. You’re sensitive to perception. After all, this is how we choose to communicate: visually. No matter where you live, that place has an effect on you. It is unavoidable. My work can be about a place, it can discuss a specific location, a specific landscape, but I work hard to also make the work universal, to stand as both a specific narrative and a metaphorical one.

Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you’re a part of? What opportunities are there for artists like yourself?

I have amazing colleagues at UNC Charlotte and across the country that continue to inspire and motivate me, including my friends from graduate school. The number one thing an artist must do is to continue to make work no matter what, and it’s a great thing to be surrounded by people who do that. Communication is so easy through social media. Whether my friends live in Connecticut or Kansas City, every new work they make inspires me, makes me think, and brings me joy. I also share studio space with a group of excellent artists in Charlotte. We all work with different media and respond to each other’s work in different ways, but their eyes are invaluable when I’m struggling with a painting.

Where do you draw inspiration?

I draw inspiration from a variety of sources, predominantly music. My days have a soundtrack, as do my paintings and photographs. I also read quite a bit and am a sucker for Baroque painting and architecture.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

One thing I always tell my students is to never be satisfied. Whenever I finish a painting or resolve a project, it must point toward another problem or ask another question. Inquiry should never be satisfied. I never want to reach a point where I have no need to create. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not creatively happy. After all, I find great joy in creating. I believe in my work and when I’m doing something well, it motivates me to keep asking questions and posing problems.

Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.

I will be having an exhibition of paintings with Hannah Tarr at {Poem 88} in Atlanta this spring. Final dates are TBD. I’m also actively working on two photography projects: Land l Marks, a small portfolio investigating the built environment and growing suburban construction and infrastructure of Charlotte, NC, and a long-term project documenting the vernacular and social landscapes of coal ash storage throughout North Carolina.

Are you a working artist or photographer interested in volunteering to curate our Instagram account? Read all the details here. Follow us at instagram.com/southernglossary.