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Modern Renaissance

Photographic artist Michael Banks’ new series, Renaissance, showcases abstract details of the ornate: gilt frames of Renaissance masterpiece paintings, photographed in a major European museum. Banks chose the name to instill positive historical connotations.

“I hope that for the viewer, these images may evoke the sublime art produced in the golden era of the Renaissance,
a period of unbelievable creativity, and that they engender a curiosity as to what the actual painting was, that is not visible, merely hinted at,” he said.  “The observer can fill that void through their own imagination, conjuring subject matter, compositions and colors that give them visual and emotional pleasure, an homage to a glorious past, now reframed as a modern photographic artwork.”

InspireDesign was curious for more, and asked Banks to expand on his inspiration behind the series, especially during this uncertain and unprecedented time in our own history.

Why is art and creativity so vital during this uncertain time?
I’m an artist, so art and creativity are really the reason I get out of bed every morning, my raison d’etre. I think that an artist should be able to create high-quality art whatever the circumstances, good, bad or indifferent. This moment is particularly challenging, but art is a positive, vibrant and life-affirming force, and can be a strong weapon to help fight the negativity of this epidemic. Creativity never stops.

Where did you source inspiration for these?
The last time that I went to a major European museum—and I’ve visited a lot—I was struck by the intricate, golden beauty of the frames. I don’t know why, but I really appreciated the art of the frames in that particular moment, the housing that usually plays second fiddle to the canvas, and I wanted in some way to celebrate that, and make it the center of attention…reversing the way we usually view a framed artwork of that type.

How do you recommend hotel designers stay inspired during this time?
There are some fabulous initiatives for using hotel space since COVID-19 arrived. For example, making rooms available
for healthcare and medical workers, homeless people and the conversion of rooms into offices for people who really can’t work from home for whatever reason. All of these new uses of a guestroom provide opportunities for design tweaks and small modifications to the space.