Artist Statement and C.V
Born in New Zealand, Michelle moved to Australia in 1985. She has been working as a professional artist since 1996 and has studied both in Australia and the UK. She has been shortlisted for many major art prizes including the Jacaranda Drawing Prize, The Portia Geach Memorial Art Award, (Highly Commended), The Bendigo Drawing Prize, The CBSC Art Prize, The Hurford Portrait Prize, the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, The KAAF Art Award and the Ravenswood Art Prize. She has also illustrated 3 children's books and was shortlisted for the CBCA 2009 Crichton Award for Best New Illustrator. Michelle lives and works in a converted church near the coast in rural Australia.
My work is figuratively based and invariably incorporates animals. I am drawn to the aesthetics and lines of improbable looking creatures such as cheetahs, hyenas, dodos, tasmanian tigers and kangaroos. I am intrigued by the point whereby the domesticated and civilised meets the wild and instinctual and how these opposing natures interact, inform and/or thwart each other. The animals; be they real beasts or imaginary monsters have been used over the years of my art practice, as a vehicle to express this conundrum.
At other times I have simply attempted to convey the ineffable beauty a wild thing stirs in me, to capture the strange and miraculous otherness that has in itself captured me and my attention.
And also to speak of the great loss and sadness when a creature becomes, or tetters on the edge of extinction.
My love of reading, both fiction and non-fiction, also strongly informs my art practice and has been the catalyst for many paintings and drawings including a body of work around the subject of mythical monsters.
In recent years I have also moved into the genre of portraiture. With both the animal and human artworks I strive to evoke the essential nature of my chosen subject matter. I see the actual process of focused drawing and painting as the means of incantation by which this is achieved.