Michelle McIver

Taking reference from New Zealand’s dramatic geographical features, Michelle paints in a simplified, semi-abstract manner. Her paintings can in places be gestural and energetic, but can also be butted up against areas of flatness and calm.


Michelle McIver grew up in rural Otago, in the south of New Zealand. From her earliest days she drew, and continued to draw prolifically throughout her school years. As a natural progression, she initially studied Fine Art at the Otago School of Art. This was followed by a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Otago, majoring in Anthropology, Education and then Japanese.

Five years spent living and working in rural Japan piqued Michelle’s interest in the Japanese aesthetic. When not working in the classroom, Michelle explored both pottery and printmaking, and developed an appreciation of the traditional wabi-sabi philosophy of design. Some of wabi-sabi’s aesthetics include acceptance of the imperfect, simplicity, economy, and finding beauty in the simple and mundane. Michelle has then applied these concepts to her practice of printmaking and then painting.

Michelle’s paintings can at times have a printerly aesthetic to them. She deconstructs an image into simpler shapes and colours, masks up areas which she wants to work on, and then applies paint and glazes which overlay each other. In the fashion of a print which has imperfect registration, she allows the viewer a sneak-peek at the different layers of colours which can sometimes be seen at the sides and edges of the painting.


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