Michael Fairclough's paintings of the immensity of sun, sky and sea are richly coloured, multi-layered and roughly textured.
The sea is used as a simple band of sky-reflecting surface, the land appears as a dark mysterious form, a flat shore or a looming cliff. Above these liquid and solid elements the sky, with it's shifting interplay of light and cloud, is closely observed, analysed and re-formed into a dense pictorial structure.The moments of sunset can be a fast-changing sequence of unique, subtle or dramatic variations. The longer twilight that follows can be rich in veils and flashes of colour. Michael's current paintings are contemplations on this transition from light to dark.
Michael has always been a landscape artist, making tiny oil studies of the Taw-Torridge estuary while studying painting at Kingston and developing this practice in explorations of Donegal and the west coast of Ireland. Summers spent on beaches in Greece and southern Italy produced work with an underlying structural element resulting in paintings and aquatints with a strong formal character, culminating in his concrete relief mural for the Farnham Post Office in 1981. In the same year the commission to design five stamps for the 50th Anniversary of the National trust for Scotland took him to St. Kilda and back to Northern Ireland.
Editions of his aquatints were published by Christie's Contemporary Art 1978-88 and he contributed a number of aquatints to their National Trust series of prints. He moved away from prints in the 1990's and concentrated on painting. He returned to Donegal in 1998 and two exhibitions at the Berkeley Square Gallery followed. In 2004 he was commissioned to paint a series of five paintings for the new Meteorological Office boardroom in Exeter. In 2006 he took up gliding the better to understand the sky which had become so predominant in his work. His aquatints and paintings have been exhibited all over the UK and in many countries abroad and is in many private and public collections.
Born Blackburn, Lancashire, 1940.
1957 to 1961 Studied at Kingston School of Art
1962 to 1964 First worked in Donegal and the west of Ireland while teaching at Belfast College of Art.
1964 Elected Associate of Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Fellow 1973
1987 Worked at S W Hayter's Atelier 17, Paris
1967 to 1979 Taught at West Surrey College of Art and worked regularly in Cornwall, Dorset, Cumbria and France.
1981 Elected member of Printmakers Council 1981
1995 Elected member of New English Art Club 1995
1981 Elected member of Printmakers Council
1960 Royal Academy of Arts David Murray Award for Landscape
1964 to 1966 Rome Scholar in Printmaking, travelling extensively in Italy and Greece
1987 Hunting Group Art Exhibition Prize-Winner
1997 First Prize Winner, Chichester Open Painting Exhibition
1964 Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Belfast 1964
1976 to 1995 New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham (10 Solo Exhibitions)
1981- Bohun Gallery, Henley on Thames (6 Solo Exhibitions)
2000- Courcoux and Courcoux, Stockbridge (3 Solo Exhibitions)
2000 and 2004 Berkeley Square Gallery (Osborne Samuel), London
Regular Exhibitor at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibitions, Hunting Group Art Prizes.
Print Collectoers Club, Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, Print Edition, 1974
Print Collectors Club, Washington DC, USA, 2 Print Editions, 1982
Christies Contemporary Art (CCA Galleries), 35 print editions 1978-88 inc. National Westminster Bank 'Art of Investment' 1990
Anderson O'Day, London, 2 print editions 1986; Avebury Press, Farnham, print edition 1995.