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Pyrotechnic Iconographism by Michael J. Korber

In 2001, the renowned European art historian, author and president/founder of International Art Biennial Dame Françoise Tempra in Malta officially bestowed the name "Pyrotechnic Iconographism" to convey the essence of the "dynamic and exploding union of line and color" recognized in Korber's style.

Mastering the rules... to break them

Korber's defiant approach was the result of a lifelong commitment to studying a wide range of processes, techniques, and mediums, which he then pushed beyond accepted boundaries. It was his command of the tools that gave him true creative freedom to deliberately disregard and break existing esthetic and technical rules. This artistic exploration culminated in the creation of a style so distinctive that it warranted its own designation. Pyrotechnic Iconographism is a combination of exploding colors and masterful line work that is unique to Korber's hand in its fluid movement, ever-changing interactions, and intricate relationship to one another.

Korber cannot cease to inspire, to transport, to propulse, to dynamise any viewer, into uniquely his Pyrotechnic Iconographism.

Dame Françoise Tempra
Art Historian, Author and President of the Malta International Art Biennale, Malta / 2002
Oversizes Drawing Series by M. J. Korber
Undecided Paths before Me…
Oversizes Drawing Series

It all starts with the line... Movement

At the core of Korber's style is his natural sense of composition and his free-flowing, curvilinear movements. Korber's unwavering dedication to a daily drawing practice and a lifelong study of the martial arts allowed him to attain the incredible fluidity. The artist combines innate, almost subconscious gestures with mindful breathing and gentle micro-movements to achieve the extremely precise brush pressure that is required to apply the oil pigment without bleeding on the raw surface. It is his unsurpassed command of line that makes Korber's paintings and drawings appear multi-dimensional, allowing the viewer to determine the spatial distance, velocity and direction of movement from the mere two-dimensional suggestions offered by the ink or brushstroke.

Color, space and contrast

Korber's inimitable technique and application of line and color are the defining components of Pyrotechnic Iconographism and give his works a unique visual signature. He applies oil paint to the neutral surface of the unprimed side of fine linen canvas. This method allows for greater absorption of light in the uncovered areas, enriching the visual perception of color while relieving the viewer of the fatigue and distraction usually associated with stark contrast of bright colors, particularly when set against the highly reflective white primed surface. Korber's compositions equipoise varied ratios of positive and negative space in unexpected ways. These daring and entrancing arrangements seemingly shouldn't work, yet somehow appear natural and even familiar once exposed to the viewer's eye. Abundant color, balanced by the neutral surfaces of raw linen, conveys the artistic vision, and augments underlying emotions and concepts. The richness of vibrant hues is introduced to conceal the apparent and open the possibility of individual exploration far beyond the cognizable visual cues. Korber's creative capacity mesmerizes viewers and hypnotizes them to experience a profound visceral connection with the art.

The series of the three works "Ever changing lives of a man" is palpable, a kind of vibrating tension, as contained in the paintings of Duchamp or the sculptures of Umberto Boccioni.

Nathalie Becker
Art Correspondent/Luxembourg Wort, Luxembourg City/Luxembourg/2002
Painting titled - Ever Changing Views of a Man 1 in oil on linen by artist Michael J. Korber Fracchiolla
Ever Changing Views of a Man 1
Painting titled - Ever Changing Views of a Man 2 in oil on linen by artist Michael J. Korber Fracchiolla
Ever Changing Views of a Man 2
Painting titled - Ever Changing Views of a Man 3 in oil on linen by artist Michael J. Korber Fracchiolla
Ever Changing Views of a Man 3


Korber's subject matter, occasionally organic or abstract, usually focuses on the human figure, that operates in both dimensions of a subject and its story. Korber's body of work is an affirmation of his extraordinary empathy, hyper-awareness of his surroundings, and his fascination with the process of perpetual apperception. To him, the study of the human body and the observation of verbal and non-verbal expressions expose the residuum of all past experiences and future hopes. In his interactions with the surrounding world, Korber deconstructs this entanglement of empiricism and transcendence by penetrating beneath the obvious and observable to the unity of a person's experience, the ultimate basis of their consciousness. This peculiar "inverted" perception of reality finds expression in the deliberate use of line, color, and composition, which reveal to the viewer the artist's uninhibited voice with the raw authenticity of his most intimate emotions.

Korber is a virtuoso of the line, the pure line, the free line, the metaphorical line - sometimes simple, sometimes baroque, sometimes lyrical, sometimes dramatic - line that he masterfully uses to construct suggestive / enigmatic scenarios where spirituality, sensuality and eroticism intertwine so that we become co-authors of their stories / games / transgressions.

Manuel Alvarez Lezama
Critic, Author and Art Historian, San Juan,Puerto Rico/2007
Oversize Series drawing titled - Striving Forward… Regardless of Overwhelming Challenges  in ink on paper by artist Michael J. Korber Fracchiolla.
Striving Forward… Regardless of Overwhelming Challenges

Mode of expression

As a teenager, Korber studied anatomy and figure drawing in East Hampton under the tutelage of Manuel R. Vega, a brilliant illustrator and painter who worked for Walt Disney Studios and is famous for creating the original cartoon character of a Toucan Sam, the mascot for "Froot Loops"® cereal. Later, as an art student at Pratt Institute, Korber had the privilege of attending courses in cadaver dissection and the study of human anatomy at Columbia University. These early experiences laid the foundation for Korber's artistic fascination with the human figure and set him on a path of continuous development of his technique. It was this ceaseless pursuit of Korber's creative spirit that brought about the development and later maturation of his style.

As allegories, amazing contemporary paintings by Michael J. Korber they are consciously full of elements that confuse us and sometimes confusing human relationships (body and soul), making them true "open works" (Umberto Ecco).

Manuel Alvarez Lezama
Critic, Author and Art Historian, San Juan,Puerto Rico/2007
Painter Korber with his art.
Painter M.J. Korber with his art.
Photograph by Joseph John Hernández

Robert Beverly Hale, former curator at the MET, artist and instructor of artistic anatomy once said "I'm drawing the line, but naturally, lines don't exist, they are mental concepts. And that is they don't exist in the three-dimensional world, they have only lengths. They really don't exist. They are mental ideas. If I looked at it under a microscope, I would see a big mountain range of charcoal. Yet it means a lot to people, lines do . . . even though lines don't exist. And we begin to realize that in drawing we deal with mental concepts entirely."

The transcendence of Korber's approach lies in the interplay between readily observable with highly conceptual. His works distort and twist the human figure into unexpected shapes, but his masterful command of anatomy allows it to remain recognizable. The artist's abstract treatment surrenders all preconceptions and grants a complete freedom of esthetic apperception. Korber's lines and colors carry powerful energies that interact with the conscious and subconscious, evoking in the viewer the introspective emergence of self in this deeply personal union with art.