Mike Manthey was raised in
a small farming community in south-central Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin –
Madison, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art in 1979. In 1990 he was accepted into the University
of Wisconsin Department of Art Graduate Program. Granted a Teaching Assistant Scholarship, he
taught studio courses in Drawing and Design to undergraduate students from 1990
to 1993 while completing graduate work.
In December 1993 he received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the
University of Wisconsin – Madison with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing. He
moved to Chicago in spring of 1996 and joined the faculty of the Illinois
Institute of Art – Chicago in fall of that year. He taught drawing studios in the school’s
Foundations Department nearly 20 years, until June of last year. He is now enjoying retirement and pursuing
his own studio practice and research.
He lives in Chicago with
his wife Debra and their two dogs, a short bike commute to Lake Michigan. His ongoing interest in eastern meditation
practices and Buddhism continues to strongly influence his philosophical
outlook and inform his aesthetic sensibility and approach to painting. He feels a work of art should offer the
viewer sanctuary, or at least momentary respite, from the usual daily internal
gossip and endless external distractions that engulf us. It should provide an open space within which
we can pause to appreciate the magnificence of our own human awareness, a
perishable gift we so easily and habitually take for granted. He hopes that anyone who becomes interested
in his surfaces will approach them as a kind of “paint garden” for the mind,
something created to be enjoyed but that also points to the larger field we all
inhabit and are interdependent with.