Over recent years Michael’s work has focussed on people, gesture, objects and styling. The introductions of surrealistic elements have added an absurdist twist to works which oscillate between observation, recollection, and imagination. An interface between the banal with the incongruous is a recurring pictorial device, where one scenario is often hybridized with another.
Above all his works are supposition; they seek to make visible narratives that exist in the minds eye. The idiosyncrasy of invention is the primary tool, with the human figure as the dominant structural motif.
Michael’s paintings are essentially conjured. Their creation relies partly on his visual memory, and partly on events experienced or imagined. Each painting begins with the accrual of many animated thoughts and vignettes in a sketchbook. These eventually amalgamate into a cohesive pictorial design, essentially becoming maps for the final work.
His compositions are honed and reworked over several weeks and months, which continues into the painting process, as the work often calls itself into question. Keenly aware of the limits of imagination, he will refer to the photograph, the internet, and magazines for inspiration, underpinning this with observational drawing. The act of drawing is central to his creative process; he will often draw impulsively on whatever comes to hand and later collate these fragments into a notebook. The books become an archive of the paintings evolution. Oil paint and egg tempera are his current preferred media.
Born 1959 County Durham.
1997 to 1980 BA Hons. Fine Art, Sunderland Polytechnic
1992 to 1995 Post Graduate Diploma in Painting, Royal Academy Schools London
1996 to 2011 Senior Lecturer: Visual Studies, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts.
2004 Elected member of New English Art Club.
2014 Appointed curator of New English Art Club Drawing School.
2014 Odgers Berndtson Purchase Prize, Curwen Gallery
2013 David Messum Prize, New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition
2013 Doreen Mackintosh Prize, New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition
1995 Royal Academy Schools Travel Award to visit Mexico.
1990 Northern Arts Travel Award to attend FIFA World Cup, Italy.
1988 Northern Arts Bursary.
1987 Northern Arts Bursary.
2016 Lynn Painter Strainer’s Prize.
2015 Royal Academy Summer Show.
2014 Curwen Gallery Painting Prize.
2013 The Royal Academy Summer Show.
2013 The Art Movement, Panter and Hall, Pall Mall London.
2013 The Perfect Nude, Wimbledon School of Art and Phoenix Gallery, Exeter
2010 Russell Gallery, The Art of the Flaneur.
2010 Dangerous Corners, JHW Fine Art, Cork St., London