Blood red, dripping, over the canvas, through the net, into the royal blue black sea. The boat incandescent against a golden, almost a dirty gold, luminous light. ‘The Catch’, huge and slaughtered, in the depths of the sea. The colours are exquisitely beautiful and the subject poignantly ‘triste’, sad. It’s an amazing painting in its full expression, that yet holds a poetic beauty and is able to be felt on all levels. It is hung in the centre of the gallery space, dividing two enormous paintings of such peace and tranquility it seems at odds that they can all be shown together. These two painting are water pieces too, one of a river in spring and the other of a pond with lilly pads. This is Michael’s calling card. ‘Eclectic’. It is the name of his exhibition and and is a reflection of Michael the artist; many varying elements coming together to make up the whole. His painting and his sculpture is brave and inventive, he always remains true to the freshness of his vision, never resting for long in a new discovery of language, moving always with his bright curious awareness of everything he sees. In his painting, his work is energetic, with big slashing strokes, and colour is his strength. I would say light interests him less than the importance of colour playing against one another.
His freshness is also in his sculpture and this ‘inconsistency’ has puzzled and infuriated many people over the years, as he has defied the rules of constancy and yet remained a completely dedicated artist. I have lived with Michael for 31 years and I can say, coming from my own experience that I have sometimes taken years to catch up and appreciate a new work. His language is playful and joyful and quirky, so he is irreverent to style, material or representation. It’s more important to him that he captures the essence of the life force itself and to him this energy is always moving, always growing, always changing. Saying this, it does not mean that Michael is not serious. He is deeply idealistic and his sense of responsibility for life is precious to him, so he often notes in his work, the environment and its balance, challenging without fear the greed of industry. Hence ‘The Catch‘ series and his factory series.
Michael’s exhibition in Ponte a Serraglio at La Rondine Gallery, is a powerful representation of his work. He wanted to express himself fully in this show, curated only by himself. His painting, prints and drawings are bold and beautiful. His sculptures are an ‘eclectic’ mix, expressing his gentle meditative side, as with ‘The Animal who loves itself’ and ‘Portrait of a Bird’, but also his sense of fun, with his ’Portrait of the emotional artist’ and also his ‘Walking Man’, works that while being found objects, still are fully considered aesthetically.Tags: art, exhibition, la Rondine Gallery, Michael Cartwright, painting, sculpture