The artwork of the robot maker: a study in antithesis

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One of the works of Michael Fortier currently on display at the Franklin Gallery at RiverStones in Rochester. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - The Franklin Gallery at RiverStones Custom Framing is hosting an exhibit during March called "Right Brain, Left Brain, Beautiful Things" featuring the work of Rochester artist Michael Fortier.

Michael Fortier is Founder and President of Mikrolar, Inc. of Hampton, New Hampshire, makers of high precision positioning systems - known popularly as robots - for use in a wide variety of bio-mechanical and industrial applications.

He is also an adventurous and remarkably accomplished artist, able to shift with extraordinary dexterity from the highly technical to the aesthetically pleasing and back again. His loosely rendered landscapes, painted in oil and influenced by both the Impressionists and the Old Masters, are full of color and energy. His portraits - some in oil, others in pencil - can be either playful, with free-flowing, multi-colored line work or, in the case of his pencil drawings, precise, monochromatic and tightly controlled - likely the influence of his work as an engineer.

"I've often applied the computer skills derived from my engineering background to the visual arts, creating many digital works over the years," he says. "My work as an artist has also been influenced by my habit of traveling near and far to tour museums and galleries. And what I've seen in my travels has taken me back from computer-based images to work in traditional media."

Fortier's exhibit will have examples of both his loosely painted and tightly controlled works, either landscapes, portraits. It will be a good opportunity for visitors to think about the differences in approach and emphasis available to artists of any ability, and then - just as Michael Fortier did long ago as a child - try their hand at painting in the medium of their choice, keep on painting, and add the joy of artistic expression permanently to their lives.

The Franklin Gallery is located at 33 North Main St. in downtown Rochester.

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