Oil on board
885 x 1215mm
Smither attended the 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. This and other paintings of the Otago region, for example, were done in the same year that the artist moved there to live. A fascination with observing the early perceptions of his children resulted in a number of related works, of which Interior with Child 1971 (also in the collection) is a good example.
He 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 some religious themes. All of Smither’s 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, however more recent works have a less tense, softer and more gestural appearance.
Michael Smither: The Wonder Years, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Tāmaki Makaurau, 3 September 2005 to 30 January 2006 (toured)