Known for her powerful
and elegant color work, Michelle Torrez’ expressionistic oil paintings of
figures are vivid and painterly. But on closer examination, there are
qualities that are not obvious – Torrez communicates the beauty of unlikely
emotion, movement, and life.
Torrez believes that the
greatest influences on her work were the circumstances of her childhood and
teenage years: “My life has influenced me to look deeper to find the beauty
and humanity in people and places. Even at an early age, I knew I was an
in Denver, Colorado, Torrez is the oldest of four children from a working
class family. Caring for her younger siblings while her parents worked, she
would sit on the porch and draw to pass the time. “The other children would
come around to watch, and art soon became a way of making friends for me.”
Instead of playing with other children, she drew them on computer paper her
father brought home from his job at IBM.
art became a survival skill in a rough urban junior high school, where
Torrez entertained even the toughest girls with her drawing. By the age of
13, she was painting and selling black-light posters, and found herself
drawn to the work of Andy Warhol, Peter Max, and Spanish painters Diego
Velasquez and Salvador Dali.
Later, Torrez studied passive solar architectural design and attended the
Colorado Institute of Art where she was at the top of her class. She
graduated in 1986 with a Degree in Advertising Design. In Dallas, Torrez
worked as an art director at an advertising agency. She began to explore the
medium of sculptural jewelry where her work was exhibited at the Dallas
Museum of Art Gallery. After returning to her native Colorado, she
continued a career in advertising until 1994 when she formed a mural
painting company, Studio M. Her murals appear in private residences
and businesses throughout Colorado. Michelle began studying fine art at the
Art Students League of Denver in 2001 studying with artists Kim English,
Dale Chisman, and Quang Ho. In 2008 Michelle was asked to join the ranks of
her mentors, teaching at the Art Students League Of Denver, where she taught
until her move to Santa Fe, NM in 2015.
Torrez’s work has become highly collected and recognized both nationally
and internationally. Her work has been featured in multiple publications –
a select few being Southwest Art, Colorado Expressions, La
Voz, The Denver Post, Image Magazine, Enlightened Woman,
Frontier Magazine. American Art Collector, etc… In 2003 she was
selected by the US Ambassador to Bulgaria to participate in the ‘Art in
Embassies Program’ where Michelle represented the United States along side
renowned artists such as John Singer Sargent, Wolf Kahn, and N.C. Wyeth.
This incredibly prestigious honor includes the display of two of Torrez’s
paintings in the public receiving rooms of the Ambassador’s residence at the
U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. In addition, she was invited to The White
House, where she met with First Lady Laura Bush, and General Colin Powell.
Also, one of Michelle’s paintings “Metaphor” was selected to be in the
“State Department Calendar” for that year.
Torrez has exhibited in many regional shows, including: the Coors Western
Art show, the Colorado Governors Art Show, also, Michelle’s Work from her
trip to South Sudan was exhibited at The Denver International Airport.