March 9: Seattle artist talks about analytical expressionism

By Beverly Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education

Schultheis-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Seattle artist and Colton, Wash., native Michael J. Schultheis returns to his alma mater, Washington State University, to deliver the 12th V.N. Bhatia Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, March 9, in the CUB auditorium.

The free, public presentation, “Analytical Expressionism: In the Dreams of Pythagoras,” will explore his paintings, which are layers of equations and drawings that describe mathematical concepts. See examples of his work at

“These paintings are not landscapes, but mindscapes,” Schultheis said. “Through analytical expressionism, I invite the viewer to think about the world in a different way and appreciate the interconnectedness of everything within the experience of life.”

Artist Michael J. Schultheis.

The lecture was created to bring speakers to campus to discuss compelling subjects and share great ideas, said M. Grant Norton, dean of the WSU Honors College (, which hosts the event. Schultheis is the first artist featured as a Bhatia speaker. Bhatia was the visionary head of the WSU honors program for more than three decades.

Colton native and honors alumnus

Schultheis grew up on a cattle ranch near Colton, Wash., 14 miles south of Pullman. He studied history and Italian in 1989 at the Scuola per Stranieri in Siena, Italy. His full scholarship to WSU allowed him to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics and an honors certificate in 1990.

He earned a master’s degree in labor economics at Cornell University where, he said, he created still life paintings to counter student stress. He worked as a mathematician, economist and software developer before becoming a full-time artist, joining “his knowledge of math and his passion for paintings.”

Influences, exhibitions

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and philosopher who settled in southern Italy.

Schultheis’ canvasses “are the result of multiple layers that include the theories of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, such as Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci. To these, Schultheis adds abstract concepts of his own,” according to an article in art ltd. magazine.

The artist has exhibited worldwide, including at the National Academies, Oregon State University and the U.S. embassies in Greece and Switzerland. He is included in international public and private collections, including the National Academy of Sciences, Mathematical Association of America and Tacoma Art Museum. He has lectured at Wentworth Institute of Technology and the National Academies.

His 2014 “Dreams of Pythagoras” collection was most recently on exhibit at the Winston Wächter Fine Art gallery in Seattle. For more about the artist, visit the website at

Find a list of previous Bhatia lecturers at


M. Grant Norton, WSU Honors College, 509-335-4505,
Peggy Perkins, WSU Honors College administrative manager, 509-335-4505,