"In art history books Smither is filed under hard-edged realism as the most prominent painter of this prominent, homegrown school. Many of these hard-edged realists of the late 60s moved on or went backwards. Smither stayed with it. But inside his realist portfolio there has also been constant diversification and experiment. He has produced among other things: sculptures of clouds; arabesques of abstraction on photographic Cibachrome; wall murals of dolphin pods splashing through rainbow outlines; screenprints of offshore islands blackening at sunset, haloed by stroboscopic colours."David Eggleton, NZ Listener, January 22-28 2005 Vol 197 No 3376

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. He paints coastal and mountain landscapes, family and children, domestic objects and religious symbols.

Born in New Plymouth, Michael Smither was based there until his move to Auckland to attend Elam School of Fine Arts in 1959. 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 draws on religious iconography and religious themes.

Michael 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, murals. It was at this time that Michael became a active conservationalist.  He investigated creative techniques of environmental protection by making a series of large beach sculptures designed to prevent the erosion of sand dunes along the New Plymouth coastline.

Michael 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 numerable 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 overseas.

Michael Smither now lives and works north of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Words

Michael Smither talks about the artist in society and issues of conservation in an article in "Art New Zealand"

Galleries

In 2005 Michael met Don Tee, of Artrite Screenprinting Ltd, who took on the job of making the screenprints based on his earlier ideas and developments, new editions of earlier work and more recently reproductions of favourite paintings.
Images in this series are taken from the publication Michael Smither - published in 2004 by Ron Sang with text by Trish Gribben The publication was shortlisted as one of the three finalists in the Illustrative Category of the 2005 Montana Book Awards.
1939
    born, New Plymouth, New Zealand
1959   
attended Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
1961
    first exhibits in Group 60 Show, New Plymouth
1968 
   accepted for Benson & Hedges Art Award;wins HC Richards Memorial Prize, Brisbane Art Gallery, Queensland
1970
    Frances Hodgkins Fellow, University of Otago, Dunedin
1971 
   awarded ASPAC Fellowship to Japan
1981 
   Founder member of TACO *(Taranaki Artist' Co-operative
1983 
   Presents End of Time's Chimes, at Christchurch Arts Festival with Jamie Bull
2004
    CNZM (Companion of the said order) for services to art.
2005   
Michael Smither Painter (Published by Ron Sang) nominated for Montana Book Award.
2006  
City Gallery major touring survey exhibition - Michael Smither - The Wonder Years 
2010   
Arts Foundation Award for Patronage donation from Gus & Irene Fisher