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Michael Smither

During his long and prolific career Michael Smither has found continuing inspiration in his immediate environment. This has resulted in a large body of work that is synonymous with the New Zealand landscape and culture. Born in New Plymouth in 1939, Michael Smither has produced a vast and varied body of work over his career. He paints coastal and mountain landscapes, family and children, domestic objects and religious symbols.

 Smither enrolled with the Elam School of Fine Arts Auckland in 1959, where he was taught by A. Lois White, Robert Ellis and John Weeks. He then returned to New Plymouth and spent the majority of the 1960s in the Taranaki region.  Paintings of this period record his family life, his wife and children, the New Plymouth community and the landscape of the region.  He has become particularly renowned for his paintings of Mount Taranaki and the Taranaki boulders from this period.  Works at this time also draw on religious iconography and religious themes.

Smither then abandoned painting for a number of years to concentrate on musical theory and composition, exploring a system of harmonic relationships. He went on to apply harmonics to other visual observations, as he worked in graphics, theatre, prints, artists’ books, and murals. As a composer and pianist, he developed a unique understanding of the correlation that existed between the world of colour and the world of sound. This led to the development of a visual harmonic chart, its progressions informing 2 and 3-dimensional works. These colourful abstractions are lyrical and painterly, with compositions of bands and shapes of opulent colour, and textured surfaces that give life.

Smither has held many prestigious one-man shows in New Zealand and Australia and has been included in numerous group exhibitions. His paintings are held in many public collections including Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. His work is also included in significant private collections throughout New Zealand and internationally. Michael Smither now lives and works north of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula. 

Michael Smither’s limited edition prints are available to purchase through our Editions page on our website.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS AT ARTIS

2015 – Screenprints Sculptures Drawings Paintings, ARTIS Gallery & Jonathan Grant Gallery, Auckland
2013 – Immobile, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2011 – Harmonic Assembly, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2009 – Shared Harmonics, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2008 – The Colours of 12 Sounds, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2005 – The Manifesto Sessions, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2005 – The Wonder Years, Auckland City Art Gallery

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

2004 – Michael Smither, Trish Gribbin, Ron Sang Publications

ACADEMIC HISTORY

1959 – 1960 Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015 – Screenprints Sculptures Drawings Paintings, ARTIS Gallery & Jonathan Grant Gallery, Auckland
2013 – Immobile, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2011 – Harmonic Assembly, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2009 – Shared Harmonics, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2008 – The Colours of 12 Sounds, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2005 – The Manifesto Sessions, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2005 – The Wonder Years, Auckland City Art Gallery
2004 – Domestic Bliss, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
2003 – Singing Shells, Kina Gallery, New Plymouth
Michael Smither, Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga
2002 – Old Affairs – New Paintings, Yvonne Fine Arts, Christchurch
2001 – Clouds, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
Something Else, Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga
2000 – Stations of the Cross, Diversion Gallery, Marlborough
1999 – Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga
1998 – From Hammerheads, Janne land Gallery, Wellington
1997 – Summer Festival – Michael Smither, Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga
1996 – Still Life, Canterbury Gallery, Christchurch
Stones in Blue Bottle, Canterbury Gallery, Christchurch
TART Gallery, New Plymouth
1995 – Michael Smither, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
Paintings and Drawings, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1994 – Recycled Rightbrain City 1994, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
Dark Night of the Teapot, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Still Life, Canterbury Art Gallery, Christchurch
1993 – Paintings, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1992 – Still Life, Canterbury Art Gallery, Christchurch
The Northland Series, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1991 – Silk Screen Prints, Canterbury Art Gallery, Christchurch
Drawings and Oil Sketches from Katikara, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
Tai-Chi Clouds, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1990 – Drawings, Gallery 69, Hawera
1989 – Silk Screen Prints, Canterbury Gallery, Christchurch
Clouds, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
Cloud Series, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1988 – Recent Paintings, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
1987 – Paintings, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1986 – Motumahanga Paintings 1986, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
1985 – Huatoki Series, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1984 – Michael Smither – An Introduction, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
End of Time’s Chimes, Christchurch Festival
Taranaki Graph – Recent Paintings, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington
Paintings from Back Beach, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1983 – Motumahanga, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Works on Paper, 1976 – 1982, Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
1982 – Harmonic Images, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Back Beach Time, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
1981 – Rocks Revisited and Political Statements, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1980 – Polyphonic Chords, Dowse Art Gallery, Lower Hutt
Taranaki Panels, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Studio Gallery, Hamilton
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
1979 – Drawings in Retrospect, Display Art Gallery, Rotorua
Hapuka Heads, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Paintings for the Revolution, Denis Cohn Gallery, Auckland
1978 – Rotorua City Art Gallery
Retrospective Drawings 1964 – 1977, Aquarius Fine Arts Ltd., Hamilton
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Retrospective Exhibition of Drawing, Pofflat Gallery, Thames
1977 – You, Me, Us, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
Inaugural Exhibition, Rotorua City Art Gallery
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Pofflat Gallery, Thames
1976 – Recent Paintings, Peter Webb Gallery, Auckland
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Brooke/Gifford Gallery, Christchurch
1975 – Waikato Art Museum, Hamilton
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
John Leech Gallery, Auckland
1974 – Watercolours, Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland
Back Beach Series, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Works on Paper 1959 – 1974, Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
1973 – Domestic Paintings, Govett-Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth
John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Domestic Paintings, Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North
Domestic Paintings 1966 – 1973, Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
1972 – Victoria University Library, Wellington
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
Watercolours, Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Dowse Art Gallery, Lower Hutt
1971 – CSA Gallery, Christchurch
John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Dawsons Gallery, Dunedin
1970 – Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Dawsons Gallery, Dunedin
1969 – Dolphins and Lovers, Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland
Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington
Painters and Drawings, CSA Gallery, Christchurch
Dawsons Gallery, Dunedin
1968 – Religious Paintings and Drawings, Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland
John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Argus Gallery, Melbourne
Religious Paintings, Palmerston North Art Gallery
1966 – Paintings, Argus Gallery, Melbourne
Hamilton Art Gallery
1965 – Collection of Sketches and Lino-Cuts, Giotto Art Gallery, Auckland
John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Taranaki Museum, New Plymouth
1964 – Artides Art Gallery, Wellington
Taranaki Museum, New Plymouth
1963 – John Leech Gallery, Auckland
Taranaki Museum, New Plymouth
1961-1962 – Moller’s Gallery, Auckland

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
Auckland City Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
The Dowse, Lower Hutt
Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection
University of Auckland Art Collection
Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland
Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton
Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, Whanganui
Te Manawa, Palmerston North
Alex Baird Collection, College House, Christchurch
Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago

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