Born in Christchurch in 1954 Michael Armstrong graduated from University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1976. Michael has been a tutor in art at the Timaru Aoraki Polytech since 1994. He lives in Timaru, South Canterbury, New Zealand with his wife Glenys Parry and his two sons aged 13 and 15.

Armstrong has been exhibiting since 1969 and has had numerous solo and group shows in galleries throughout New Zealand and in Australia. His many awards include the prestigious Francis Hodgkins Fellowship which he held in 1984. Armstrong’s willful mix of figurative elements and vivid coloration celebrates the diversity, volatility, and spontaneity of life. A bold and positive approach to art-making has been the signature of his work for more than three decades.

In 2008 Mike completed his Masters in Fine Art through the University of Canterbury. An article profiling Armstrong and his work was recently published in major New Zealand art magazine ‘Art New Zealand’.

Michael Armstrong.

Artist’s Statement.

September 20th 2007

Postmodernism allows me, as a painter, to combine many ideas and styles into a work. The surface is worked and reworked with ideas and images, a tabula rasa of the personal and of the art historical, overlaid with and amalgamated with the contemporary to create new meanings. 

My most recent work has been as part of my studies towards a Masters Degree at Canterbury University and advances my interest in figurative concerns. I am very grateful to the support and tutelage of Roger Boyce as my supervisor, and to the staff and my fellow students of the art school.

These paintings investigate drawing with paint. They are arrangements of figures involved in theatrical actions, abstractions, painterly effects, perspectival depths and contradictory spaces, still life settings and contemporary props. 

There is an irony in that I as a painter can reference performance, photographic, installation, and “conceptual” art forms within painting. To create painted images of temporal works would seem to be contradictory.   Imagery of disembodied parts of figures projecting from above or from underneath suspended flat planes, alter and disturb the implied pictorial space within a painting. In this I refer to the work of the contemporary conceptual and installation artist, Grober. Grober would seem to me to be referencing the 20th Century surrealist Margritte. Photographs of feet taken at social occasions, reflecting on how people relate socially, appear as drawn images in my paintings. Feet without a face leave the viewer perplexed. The expectation is of a full figure. The image may be simply funny, or disconcerting in that it frustrates identity and yet poignant in its indication of an absence and anonymity.

In these paintings my intention is to integrate many elements of art practice into the frame. This involves the excavation and reconstruction of the styles and images of art making and the references those make to contemporary practice and art historical models. It is the language of painting, reflecting on itself. 

* Bio Supplied by the artist.


District: Timaru, South Canterbury

Type: Painter

Represented by:Saffron Gallery of Art

Artwork type/s: Paintings/sulpture

Description: A bold and positive approach to art-making has been the signature of his work for more than three decades.

Education:Masters in Fine Art through the University of Canterbury. 


Contact: Please contact Saffron Art Gallery to learn more about this artist or to view their work.

PLEASE NOTE: This information has been supplied by the artist. Although all efforts have been made to provide accurate information the above is not necessarily the option of Saffron Art Gallery.