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 About Michelle

Michelle Teear was born in Sydney in 1984. She was awarded a Bachelor Fine Arts from the University of New South Wales in 2005. She is represented by Straightjacket, with her fourth solo show coming in May 2024.  She is a contemporary Australian painter working in egg tempera using classical paint making techniques. Working from her memory of place and tapping into emotions embedded in the unconscious, her paintings straddle a space between the tangible landscapes she travels to and her interior emotional dialogue. The landscape offers both a sanctuary in which to meditate on internal narratives, often embodying trauma, queer and disabled identity, and acts as a stage for her to embed internal narratives into painting. The history of a location will inform the direction of her internal emotional investigations and her approach to the work. Her work offers a hybrid presentation of the artists experience of moving between her inner and outer consciousness of the world and herself.

“Whilst staying true to the legacy of landscape my painting has also dived deeper to embrace an unbiased sense of self embedded into the natural world.”

Michelle’s process is based on traditional approaches to En plein air landscape painting. She engages with remote landscapes on research trips, living in the landscape as an immersive experience. During her travels she conducts En plein air studies and sources found natural pigments from which to make natural paint. These studies inform studio-based works where the external landscape is interpreted within the framework of her inner dialogue.

Each day in the studio starts with mixing paint from scratch. Michelle makes her own egg tempera, oil paint and mediums, using the techniques of the European masters. The process of mixing paint allows her to focus on the quality of paint and colour in it’s own right, outside the process of painting. She allows the thin applications of egg tempera to splash or drip down the board. Layers of thin paint are built up to reflect a depth of colour.

Michelle recently completed a mentorship with senior Australian artist Virginia Cuppaidge, as part of the Newcastle Art Space Mentorship Program. Her work was shortlisted for the Evelyn Chapman award in 2020, and the Newcastle Club Foundation Prize 2022 and 2023. She completed a residency at Bundanon Trust in 2020, with the support of Accessible Arts, and is a 2023 graduate of the Front and Centre Leadership program for women with disability in the arts. She is a disability advocate and educator for the arts sector.

Michelle lives and works in Newcastle, Australia.

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