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Australia 1986

Michael Armstrong’s work has a faded, dream-like aesthetic. He is a visual artist working in the field of painting and drawing. Working from found imagery his work depicts social interactions between people or moments of individual personal contemplation. The work isn’t usually an obvious repre- sentation, each piece is erased or blended with slight details re-established. This creates instability and the work floats between realism and abstraction.

There are two reoccurring themes at the core of this practice; the psychological experience of social interaction and the amalgamation of the figure and their environment. The former is explored through the representation of types. These can be types of people, relationships, moments or stories. Often working with images of people. Each figure is symbolically and loosely associated with a character or allegorical role. The second theme is depicted through technique. The blended appearance of the paintings and the erased element in the drawings make the work appear either in a state of dissolve or emergence. The figures are rarely distinct from the space in which they inhabit. This simultaneous- ly re-establishes the medium, handling and object-ness of the work as well as adding a dream-like, subjective quality to the image. There is a tension between the psychological and physical self in the same way the work floats between realism and abstraction.

Michael Armstrong at

More at

Michael Armstrong: Two thoUnited Statesnd and nine

Two thoUnited Statesnd and nine

Michael Armstrong: Youth in apathy

Youth in apathy

Michael Armstrong: Inaudible in Gold

Inaudible in Gold

Michael Armstrong: Inaudible




2005/06/07 Canterbury University, School of Fine Arts; Master of Fine Arts Post- Graduate Studies

1976: Canterbury University; Diploma in Fine Arts, Painting Major

Exhibitions (selection)

2007 This Imperfect Life
Ashburton Art Gallery (May, June)
Anthony Harper CoCA Award,
Anthony Harper CoCA Exhibition.
One Two Five. (Part one.) Master of Fine Arts Exhibition 2006-2007
SOFA Gallery, (March)
The Shock of New
Invited group show to mark the centenary of Picasso’s “Demoiselles d’ Avignon.” CoCA Gallery. (January)

2006 Four Peaks. Group Show. Allison Art, Geraldine
Graduating Painters Show, University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts
Centre of Contemporary Art. 6th-24th Sept
Catalogue essay by Andrew Paul Wood
Inaugural SC Artists’ Cluster Exhibition. Bay Tea- Rooms, Timaru
Marshall Siefert Gallery. Slide show and one night exhibition to the Frances Hodgkins Buying Group

2005 Tapestry Workshop Exhibition, collaborative tapestries by Marilyn Rea-Menzies,Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts Gallery, Palmerston North.

2004 Tapestry Workshop Exhibition, collaborative tapestries by Marilyn Rea-Menzies, CoCA, Christchurch

2003 “Cultural Discourse.” Aigantighe Art Gallery, Timaru
“New Works by an Old Expressionist.”
Hocken Library Gallery, University of Otago, Dunedin
“The Great Spiritual Thief.” Arthouse Gallery, Christchurch

2002 Finalist, Wallace Trust Art Award
“Recent Work,” Forrester Gallery, Oamaru


2000 Finalist Aoraki Festival Inaugural Scholarship; Visual Arts
1990 CSA Guthrey Travel Award
1987 Artist in Residence, Cinerama Youth Centre
1985 QE2 Arts Council, Major Grant
1984 QE2 Arts Council, Travel Grant
Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, University of Otago, Dunedin
1983 Waimairi Art Award Winner, Waimairi County Council
1981 QE2 Arts Council Grant

Works in Collections

James Wallace Charitable Trust
Oncology Department , Christchurch Public Hospital
Princess Margaret Hospital Gymnasium
Aigantighe Art Gallery,Timaru
Lincoln University Collection, Lincoln
Foresight Collection, Auckland
Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch
Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin
Anderson Park Gallery, Invercargill
Waikato Museum of Art And History, Hamilton
Bank of New Zealand, Head Offices, Wellington
Bank of New Zealand, Offices, Christchurch
Hocken Library Collection, University of Otago, Dunedin
University of Otago Collection, Dunedin
Manawatu Gallery, Palmerston North


Art NZ, Issue 74, Autumn 1995: "Observations and Dichotomies," Alison Pearson
Art NZ, Issue 42, 1987:"The Psychological Moment," Miles Hargest
Art NZ, Issue 35, 1985: Jonathan Smart
Art NZ, Issue 28, 1983: Evan Webb
More Magazine, October 1987: "Michael Armstrong at Room 11," Rose Hemmings
New Zealand Art, A Modern Perspective, Elva Bett, 1986
Contemporary NZ Prints, Jill McIntosh, Ed, 1989
TVNZ, Kaleidoscope: Dilana Artists Collection and Workshop, 1987, Interview
Aritika, Inter Island Line, NZ Railways
United Building Society, Christchurch
St. Andrews College, Christchurch
Girls High School Timaru
Burnside High School, Christchurch