Michael Smither

b. 1939

Also known as:

  • Michael Duncan Smither

Michael Smither was born and raised in New Plymouth. He graduated from the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts in 1960 where noted influence came from Rita Angus and Lois White. While studying he worked part-time in a car spray-paint shop, an occupation which introduced Smither to the use of lacquer-based paints.

In 1959, Smither returned to New Plymouth. His first solo exhibition was in 1961. He has continued to exhibit throughout his career, major exhibitions were hosted by Christchurch Art Gallery in 1986 and at the City Gallery in Wellington in 2006.

Smither's paintings are characterized as being of a representational, hard-edged style. He works in a variety of media - notably oils, acrylics, carving and sculpting as well as screen-print, a skill he developed while working with his father, Bill. His art addresses a variety of subjects: through the 1960s religious themes reflect his strong faith at that time, at other times domestic life is a major theme, as is the Taranaki landscape. Recent works attend closely to the details of objects, people and places.

Smither now lives at Otama beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. Despite experiencing a minor stroke in 2014, Smither continues to paint.

See also:

Michael Smither, 'Harmonic Mural' (1979), New Plymouth War Memorial Hall & City Library, CBD, Ngāmotu New Plymouth

Image: courtesy Govett-Brewster Art Gallery