Relive summer memories through Michele Poirier Mozzone's paintings of water

The Massachusetts-based artist's work will make you want to dip your toe in a swimming pool.

31 August 2023

What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘fractured light’? It could be the sun piercing through blinds creating a striped shadow or the burst of orange dots that you see after sun gazing for one second too long. Whatever it may be, we seem to hold a certain curiosity and enjoyment for the forms and shapes it creates.

For Michele Poirier Mozzone, her painted series Fractured Light is all about the sun’s reflection on the water and how it intertwines with the human form. Living and working in southeastern Massachusetts, surrounded by farm fields, cow pastures and horse stables, she has always been inspired by nature. For years after graduating with her fine arts degree, she worked with watercolour before tapping into the expressive nature of pastel. And, in 2016, she began translating her body of work into oil paintings, creating larger and more varied applications of paint with palette knives and brushes.

Michele’s paintings aren’t about any particular person, but the capturing of a moment in time, experience or memory. “Most of us have experienced the sound of bubbles rushing past our ears or the broken ribbons of sunlight and bizarre reflections on the water,” she tells us. Taking the reference images for the paintings with her GoPro camera, she picks out photographs where she sees potential, before enhancing the colour and composition in Procreate. “I try to be open to separating myself from the reference photo and intuitively changing elements of the painting during the process.”


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Peace (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)

Throughout Fractured Light, Michele gives us a unique perspective as she paints figures from the bottom of pools and just beneath the water’s surface. Bubbles take form throughout the body of work, emphasising the playful nature of swimming or even just dipping our toes in the water. In one of her paintings entitled Stretch, Michele’s attention to detail transports you to the first-ever time you saw the sun interact with the water – the reflections and glowing lines and shapes they make as the body disrupts it. “It’s a painting that lives with me, especially because my daughter, Catherine, was the model. I love the ribbons of light draping the body and how, even without seeing the face, it looks just like her,” she tells us.

Above all, Michele expresses great gratitude for her subject matter. “Water brings change, gives life and can take life away. Bubbles are ideas and intentions that rise to the open air while each figure is interpreted, reacting to a moment in this surreal world where light and form come together,” she adds. “It has been gratifying to get such great feedback from people who sees themselves as a child relieving their happy summer memories through my work.”


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Stretch (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2019)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Ease (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Flirt (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Step (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2021)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: The Artful Hand (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: The Lookout (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2022)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Wallflower (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: War (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)


Michele Poirier Mozzone: Bubble (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2023)

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Michele Poirier Mozzone: As Luck Would Have It (Copyright © Michele Poirier Mozzone, 2021)

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About the Author

Yaya Azariah Clarke

Yaya (they/them) is an editorial assistant at It's Nice That, with a particular interest in Black visual culture. They have previously written for publications such as WePresent, and worked as researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery. 

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