Matilda Michell
Matilda Michell

 

 

Matilda Michell combines classical still life oil painting with a contemporary twist. She incorporates ordinary, everyday objects that fit so seamlessly into a classical context that they are barely noticeable as ‘modern’. Matilda studied painting at the National Art School in Sydney and has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions around Australia. She has won numerous art prizes including the Waverly Art Prize and the John Olsen Prize for Figure Drawing. Her works can be found in private collections and the collection of the South Australian Museum.

Artist Statement
My painting practice is built on a lifelong love of classical painting. I try to pursue the fine craftmanship, stillness and exquisite sense of balance created by the classical masters, while bringing my own contemporary slant to it. This is usually through the introduction of a modern subject into the traditional still life context, but also by manipulating classical compositional rules and juxtaposition of subjects that ‘clash’ in some way. Finding the balance of ‘new’ and ‘old’ elements in each painting is a difficult and often lengthy task. If there are too many ‘new’ elements, the painting loses touch with its grounding in tradition, and if it is exclusively ‘old’ then it doesn’t connect with its own time.

For me, the aims of classical painting are very different from those of realism and I always try to prioritise composition, balance, harmony and sentiment above strictly accurate observation. Because of the proliferation of photographic images, it can be very difficult to pull oneself away from a purely observational approach to painting. I use a layering process to help keep sight of my larger aims and to vary the texture of the paint – playing off thick impastos with super thin glazes to create a sense of depth and atmosphere. The order and structure of the layers allows me to introduce an element of chance to the painting so that it takes on a life of its own, emerging through the build up of layers in a different way each time.

b. 1982 Canberra, ACT

Education
2005    Bachelor of Arts (Media Arts and Production), University of Technology, Sydney
2005    Bachelor of International Studies, University of Technology, Sydney
2008    Bachelor of Fine Art, National Art School, Sydney

Solo Exhibitions

2018    Homecoming, Art2Muse Gallery, Sydney
2016    Regret and other paintings, Sheffer Gallery, Sydney
2015    Still Life, A-M Gallery, Sydney
2014    In Company, Matilda Michell and Nicole Kelly, Gaffa Gallery, Sydney

Selected Group Exhibitions
2018    Percival Portrait Prize, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville
2017    Portia Geach Portrait Prize, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2017    Salon des Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2017    Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, Perth
2017    Manning Art Prize ‘Naked and Nude’, Taree, NSW
2017    Portia Geach Portrait Prize, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2017    Bellinger Gallery Christmas Exhibitiom, Bellinger Gallery, Inverell
2017    EUTICK Memorial Still Life Award, Project Contemporary Artspace, Woollongong
2017    Home@735 Invitational, Home@735 Gallery, Sydney
2017    Woof, Art Est Gallery, Sydney
2016    Portia Geach Portrait Prize, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2016    Doug Moran Portrait Prize, Juniper Hall, Sydney
2016    Fletcher Foundation 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Aartamon Galleries, Sydney
2016    Guilty Pleasures, The Old Rum Store, Sydney
2016    Stanthorpe Arts Festival, Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, Queensland
2016    ‘Drawing Now’ Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle
2016    Percival Portrait Painting Prize, Townsville Regional Gallery
2016    Moreton Bay Art Awards, Pine Rivers Art Gallery, Queensland
2016    Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Award, Brisbane
2015    12 years of the Waterhouse Art Prize Retrospective, National Archives, Canberra
2015    Blacktown Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Sydney
2015    KAAF Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Portia Geach Portrait Prize, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2015    Manning Art Prize ‘Naked and Nude’, Taree, NSW
2015    Kogarah Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney
2015    Moreton Bay Art Awards, Pine Rivers Gallery, Queensland
2015    Cossack Art Awards, Cossack Gallery, WA
2015    Brisbane Art Prize, Lightspace Venue, Queensland
2015    Waverley Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Glebe Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Hunters Hill Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Award, Brisbane
2014    AME Bale Art Prize, Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Victoria
2014    Portia Geach Memorial Art Award, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2014    40 x 40, Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne
2014    Art Est Tutor Show, Art Est Gallery, Sydney
2013    Portia Geach Memorial Art Award, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2013    Rick Amor Self-Portrait Prize, Montsalvat Gallery, Victoria
2013    Manning Art Prize ‘Naked and Nude’, Manning Regional Art Gallery, NSW
2013    Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney
2013    Flannagan Art Prize, Ballarat, Victoria
2013    Kogarah Art Prize, Sydney
2013    Waverley Art Prize, Sydney
2013    Wilson Art Prize, Lismore, NSW
2013    Lethbridge 10000 small-scale art award, Brisbane
2013    Art Est Tutor show, Sydney
2012    Fish in Australian Art, National Maritime Museum, Sydney
2012    Marie Ellis Drawing Prize, Brisbane
2012    Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney
2012    Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Award, Brisbane
2012    Xstrata Percival Portrait Prize and ‘Directors Cut’ exhibition, Townsville
2012    Waverley Art Prize, Sydney
2012    Harrison Galleries Stock Show, Sydney
2012    Art Est Tutor Show, Sydney
2011    National Trust Still Life Award, Berrima, NSW
2011    Fleurieu Art of Food and Wine Prize, Adelaide
2011    AME Bale Art Prize, Glen Eira Gallery, Victoria
2011    Waverley Art Prize, Sydney
2011    Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Art Award, Brisbane
2010    Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW
2010    Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, Perth
2010    Shirley Hannan National Portrait Awards, Bega Regional Gallery, NSW
2009    Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, South Australian Museum and National Archives, Canberra
2009    Waiting: a still life, NG Gallery, Sydney
2009    St Michael’s Archangel Prize, Melbourne
2008    John Olsen Prize for Figure Drawing, National Art School, Sydney

Residencies and Awards
2017    Joint winner, Glebe Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Painting Prize winner, Glebe Art Prize, Sydney
2015    Drawing Prize winner, Waverley Art Prize, Sydney
2009    Overall winner in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, South Australian Museum
2008    Recipient of the Pata Paris Studio Residency Award
2008    Winner of the Third Year National Art School Prize for Art History and Theory
2008    Recipient of a William Fletcher Foundation Grant
2008    Highly Commended in the John Olsen Prize for Figure Drawing
2008    Highly Commended in the Arthur Le Gay Brereton Draftsmanship Award
2006    Winner of the First Year National Art School Prize for Art History and Theory

Collections
South Australian Museum
Private Collections

Download full profile PDF.