Michael Halak was born in 1975 in Israel, where he currently lives and works. Mr. Halak paints from observation and, as a result, his paintings are both figurative and realistic. His unique composition of objects are representative of both images and ideas. His self-portraits address fundamental questions pertaining to the politics of identity, in addition, to the self-representation of young Palestinians in Israel. Consequently, many questions and ideas arise in response to his subject matter, such as the ability to go (or not go) through modern life without immediate identification as the 'other', the ability to rely on the appearance of an unmarked face, devoid of ethnic features and the ability to assimilate into a crowd without constant examination and isolation. Thus, his use of detailed painterly realism and the depiction of bodily gestures creates a sense of exposure, discomfort and perplexity in the viewer.
Rather than faithfully representing his own appearance, Mr. Halak's self-portrait engages in a dialectic, as it attempts to generate exposure and obstruction, a realistic presence inhibited by deliberate blurring by the artist. In this context, Max Beckmann's assertion becomes most fitting, "if you wish to get hold of the invisible you must penetrate as deeply as possible into the visible". In Halak's case, however, the penetration into the visible seems to encapsulate the anxiety of physical hurt and injury, and situates in the heart of the viewer the human need to protect the artist's inner soul.
Michael Halak's artwork has been displayed in solo exhibitions and group exhibitions worldwide (Alumni exhibition, The Florence Academy of Art, Florence, Italy in 2005, "Men in the Sun", Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009 and "My Father is a Soldier", Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art in 2011). Halak has received numerous prestigious awards, amongst them the Residency Scholarship in Florence, A.M. Al-Qattan Foundation, Ramallah in 2005 and the Scholarship in Florence, the America-Israel Culture Foundation in 2005, Distinction Scholarship, Haifa University in 2007 and for the MFA.