Inspired by a lifelong fascination with space exploration, Michael Kagan paints iconic scenes of astronauts and NASA rockets
Growing up in Virginia Beach near the first NASA field center, Michael Kagan (born 1980) learned early in life to look toward the sky for inspiration. Now based in Brooklyn, the artist uses historical NASA photography as source material for his paintings of rockets blasting off into the atmosphere and astronauts touching down on lunar landscapes.
Heavily textured with layers of oil paint, Kagan's work brings a sense of tactile closeness to the otherworldly subject matter without sacrificing its awe-inspiring mystery. This clothbound accompaniment to Kagan's exhibition at Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art presents a selection of the artist's paintings from the past decade, dedicated to space imagery and F1 racers. It features a foreword by collaborator and fellow Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams, an essay by Matthew Israel and an interview by Bill Powers.