1968, 1200 x 900mm, Oil on board
Michael Duncan Smither attended Elam School of Art alongside Don Binney, which probably accounts for the close relationship between their styles. Both artists were instrumental in the re-emergence of realism in the 1960s. Smither has explored a number of subjects throughout his career, most of which were related to his immediate surroundings. Hamilton Diggings, Central Otago was done in the same year that the artist moved to the area to live. A fascination with observing the early perceptions of his children resulted in a number of related works, including Interior with Child.
Smither achieved great acclaim for his rock paintings, a success which ironically led to his abandonment of the subject after commercial pressure to produce the works became too strong. The artist also produced several paintings of the Taranaki landscape, concentrating on its mountains and rivers, and has explored religious themes. His best-known work is characterised by smoothly modulated areas of colour and a strong sense of pattern. His early close-range figures and still lifes are disturbingly precise and sharply focused.