Michael Smither was born in 1939 and is renowned as one of the leading painters in New Zealand today.
His paintings are held in public collections throughout New Zealand, including Te Papa Tongarewa – Wellington, Auckland City Art Gallery and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth.
Smither is mainly known for his iconic super-realist paintings and screenprints. He is acknowledged as one of several pivotal painters who emerged in the 1960s, to lead contemporary New Zealand art in new directions.
Over the past five decades Smither has constantly explored new ideas and themes connected with his own life. He is also a talented musician and composer and during the 1970s and 1980s became fascinated by the link with art and music. Smither developed his own ‘Harmonic Chart’ in 1982 and continued to use this as a reference for works over the following thirty years. Many paintings and sculptures could actually be played as a musical score – translating colour into sound.
Smither’s last solo exhibition at ARTIS was in 2015 – a selection not only of paintings, drawings and screenprints, but also sculptures. This exhibition was installed in both ARTIS Gallery and Jonathan Grant Gallery – a retrospective installation covering Smither’s long career.
In 2004 Smither was awarded the CNZM (Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit) for Services to Art.