MUNTHE ART MONDAY: MICHELLE REBECCA
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
Hi, I’m Michelle and I’m an abstract artist based in England. My paintings are about zooming out from the immediate surroundings around oneself and taking on a bird’s-eye view of the landscape. An attempt to gain a new perspective. In doing this, the abstract shapes that become evident in a landscape can take on an almost cellular form with little intricacies, where the previously seemingly big details are almost lost amongst the significantly larger structures of the environment.
The importance of refocusing one’s attention is relevant now more than ever due to climate change. We live in a time of Nature-Society dualism, a concept that needs to be deconstructed as we rely entirely on nature to live.
The vibrantly coloured paintings are processed based, letting go of considered outcomes throughout the creation. The mixed media dances about the canvas and takes on its own naturally occurring, layered forms, as would happen in nature. When the paint and materials settle and dry, they take on different forms yet again. I then work into these forms to enhance them further.
The depths formed within the layers creates a juxtaposition and almost confusion in the motion of attempting to establish distance but being once again drawn back into the finer details. It entices the viewer's curiosity; to come closer and zoom into the paintings to examine the depths of balance and contrast of these landscapes.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
I think being a female artist, that people don’t take you as seriously and there's still very much the notion that you can't make a living from being a female artist which is totally false. I have found personally and when in conversation with other female artists there is a sense of apprehension around the pricing of work and asking for the true value of the piece. In comparison, male artists I know are much more confident around the pricing of their works. But I think this is slowly changing and women are getting more recognition in the artworld. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to do what you love.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
There are so many incredible female artists that it’s really tough to choose. I am really inspired by artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, Marilyn Minter, Mickalene Thomas, Barbara Hepworth, as they are truly strong women. They have all turned hardships into powerful artworks that have pushed boundaries in society and have ignited important conversations.
More recently I have been inspired by artists such as Sophie Tea, Kim Rose, and CJ Hendry, just to name a few, who have been changing the game within the artworld due to social media. They are foraging their own, non-traditional routes to success. They have become immensely successful, at great speed because they are able to connect with their collectors on a much more personal level.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
I would say the most challenging part, that I’ve experienced, is with social media because people want to see the face behind the work, and this can result in a lot of unwarranted messages from men that have absolutely nothing to do with art. I would imagine this wouldn’t be the case so much for male artists. So, as a female artist I think it can be hard for the art to just be about the art.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
I want viewers to initially feel a sense of joy at the vibrant colours and then intrigue at the forms that give it a macro and micro view. When viewing my paintings people often come out with wonderful stories of memories of places they have been to and explored. These moments of connection give awe and great appreciation for the world around us.
Michelle is wearing our AKETTA blazer, AKEL trousers and ANCASTER knit-vest.