John Crowther, Art Critic

Michael Yurick’s Managed Mania is a beautiful abstract work that could be discussed at length based only on its painterly characteristics. However, I too often get lost in descriptions of a work’s painterly qualities without paying attention to the conceptual weight they bare. I want to try and focus this critique on the work’s emotional instead of technical attributes.

For me, the kaleidoscopic palette of the painting is a metaphor for all the thoughts, hopes, disappointments, and feelings plaguing us. So many concerns occupy our minds that it is often difficult to distinguish the good from the bad, the worthwhile from the frivolous. Human consciousness, and the plethora of ideas it forces upon us, is a blessing that can often feel like a curse. How do we cope with this endless onslaught of feelings? We compartmentalize. Like the complex blocks of color covering Managed Mania, we try to manage the complications of our existence by putting them into airtight phycological boxes to prevent them from immobilizing us under an onslaught of emotion and to prevent joy from being constantly tinged with sadness. Like many things, this is good and bad.

People who overly compartmentalize often emotionally isolate themselves beyond the point of comfort and into the nothingness of indifference. But, without compartmentalization, we would not be able to function; we would drown in our own awareness. I greatly envy people who can safely stow their emotions in secure mental boxes. I am happy to be in touch with my feelings, but I wish I could exercise more control over them. My mania could use some management, and I see the present work as a visual metaphor for the balance I crave. Yurick does not completely confine the blocks of color to neat and evenly spaced boxes. In fact, he does not strictly limit them to boxes. In the middle of the canvas, the blocks are increasingly obscured by each other and by loose gestures of acrylic that have no exact home. Managed Mania is not a picture of a mind that has sacrificed the joy of emotion for stability, but one that maintains a degree of spontaneity and openness while keeping the whole controlled enough to manage.