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Michael Smither

Michael Smither’s Biography

Last Updated:
20/05/2019, 10:55 am
Award for Patronage 2010 - Gus and Irene Fisher
Michael Smither, CNZM, is regarded as one of New Zealand's leading realist painters. He is also well known for his sculpture, murals, silk screenprints, for his music and for his environmental work.

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.