Michelle Teear is an Australian artist who seeks a visual dialogue with place as a process of familiarisation of the landscape. Her practice is researched based, regularly travelling, and living outdoors as an immersive experience from which she conducts en plein air studies and sources found natural materials. An increasing theme in Michelle’s process is the collection of natural elements and their transformation through a response to their origins of place, through investigation of the potential of their materiality, into objects that speak of our human experience of that place. These investigations include pigment foraging from which to make natural paint and textile dyes from clays, berries, leaves and other plant matter, in order to explore the possibility of a landscape to yield colour. Colour and it’s emotive force is a key consideration underpinning Michelle’s practice. Additionally, Michelle turns to the potential sculptural form by weaving grasses and vines using basketry techniques.
Predominantly a painter, her works are raw gestural images that draw from a deep desire to connect with the natural landscape. A ritualistic relationship with her medium is key to her practice, as each day in the studio starts with mixing paint from scratch or collecting materials in her garden and local bushland. Michelle makes her own egg tempera, oil paint and mediums, using the techniques of the old masters. She explores the possibility for energetic mark making with these paints, a diversion from their traditional application processes.
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 prestigious Evelyn Chapman award in 2020, and she recently completed a residency at the infamous property of Arthur Boyd, Bundanon Trust, with the support of Accessible Arts. Her sustainable craft business, Michelle Leilani, provides education that connects creativity with nature, using found natural materials to craft art pieces in her public workshops. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Lake Mac Award of Arts Leader, for her continued work in providing creative education and services in Lake Macquarie community.
Represented by Gallery 139, Newcastle, NSW.
Michelle lives and works in Newcastle, Australia.