Michael “Catfish Man” Suter Folk Art Acrylic Painting, Late 20th Century
Michael “Catfish Man” Suter (American, 20th/21st century)
Untitled, late 20th century
Acrylic painting on found board
Signed to the lower margin
Self-taught artist Michael Suter describes his pseudonym “Catfish Man” as a naturalist persona that he adopted while living in the mountains for twenty years before he began to create art. After living in the mountains, he moved to Athens, Georgia where he became very close to Howard Finster’s family and other artists in the region. It was in Georgia that he began salvaging discarded items from Habitat for Humanity which he used to create his first mixed media assemblages. The first piece Catfish Man created was a 1950s tin tea cart that he upcycled, embellished it with black paint, and added the phrase “axe me nicely or don’t axe me at all.” At times he would paint on the site where he found the discarded items, such as ditches or along river banks. He realized a regional interest in his work and began selling to collectors. Over time, Catfish Man developed his unique style and describes his process as a psychic automatic approach, releasing himself to a trance state while creating art, in the manner of Surrealist Automatists. Many of his works feature assembled discarded items and scraps painted with boldly outlined figures, faces, and motifs rendered with simples shapes and vibrant colors.
- heavy wear to edges of board; eleven-inch vertical crack to lower portion of piece; three-inch vertical crack to upper portion of piece; surface wear present to painting; warping to board; dust and accretions present to painting.