Art Rentals

Enhancing environments with original New Zealand artwork

Michael Armstrong

Introducing this month’s feature artist painter, MICHAEL ARMSTRONG.

Michael Armstrong was born in Christchurch in 1954. He attended the University of Canterbury, graduating in 1976 with a Diploma in Fine Arts, majoring in Painting. Since 1969, Armstrong has exhibited in various solo and group shows in galleries throughout New Zealand, Australia and in the UK to considerable critical acclaim. In 1984 he was awarded the prestigious Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at Otago University and he received the CSA Guthrey Travel Award in 1990. On several occasions he has also been a finalist in the ‘James Wallace’ and the ‘Anthony Harper (CoCA)’ Art Awards.

Armstrong’s explorations of Abstract Expressionist and Surrealist stylistic techniques have frequently resulted in convention breaking compositions, particularly in regard to the definition of pictorial space. His paintings range from relatively traditional formats to experimental loose canvases painted on both sides and then twisted to reveal elements of both compositions. He has also produced a very successful series of intricate plywood and metal multi-level, painted constructions that protrude out from the wall as if cut free from the conventional flat rectangular boundaries of the canvas, pushing themselves out and away into the realm of sculpture.

Armstrong’s vivid use of colour and playful compositions belie the raw intensity of the often dark and difficult subject matter. His works explore issues of self-expression and identity as well as discourses on the nature of art and the artist’s place within society.

In 2005, Armstrong returned to the University of Canterbury to achieve a Masters degree in Fine Art. He resides in Timaru and where he has been an art lecturer at the local Aoraki Polytechnic since 1994. Works by Michael Armstrong’s are represented in private and public collections in Australia, Great Britain and throughout New Zealand.

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