Michael Kirkbride NEAC

Executive Committee Member


Artist Statement

Over recent years, Michael’s work has focussed on people, gesture, objects and styling. The introductions of surrealistic elements have added an absurdist twist to works which oscillate between observation, recollection, and imagination. An interface between the banal with the incongruous is a recurring pictorial device, where one scenario is often hybridized with another. Above all, his works are supposition; they seek to make visible narratives that exist in the minds eye. The idiosyncrasy of invention is the primary tool, with the human figure as the dominant structural motif.

Method of Working

Michael’s paintings are essentially conjured. Their creation relies partly on his visual memory, and partly on events experienced or imagined. Each painting begins with the accrual of many animated thoughts and vignettes in a sketchbook. These eventually amalgamate into a cohesive pictorial design, essentially becoming maps for the final work. His compositions are honed and reworked over several weeks and months, which continues into the painting process, as the work often calls itself into question. Keenly aware of the limits of imagination, he will refer to the photograph, the internet, and magazines for inspiration, underpinning this with observational drawing. The act of drawing is central to his creative process; he will often draw impulsively on whatever comes to hand and later collate these fragments into a notebook. The books become an archive of the paintings evolution. Oil paint and egg tempera are his current preferred media.

Michael is Curator of the New English Education Programme

Biographical Details

2014 Appointed Curator of the New English Education Programme
2004 Elected member of NEAC
​1996-11 Senior Lecturer: Visual Studies, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts
1992-95 Post Graduate Diploma in Painting, Royal Academy Schools London
1997-80 BA Hons, Fine Art, Sunderland Polytechnic

Scholarships, Awards & Prizes

2014 Odgers Berndtson purchase prize Curwen Gallery.
2013 David Messum Prize, New English Open
2013 Doreen Mcintosh Prize, New English Open.
1995 Royal Academy Schools, Travel Award to visit Mexico
1990 Northern Arts Travel Award to attend FIFA World Cup, Italy.
1987/88 Northern Arts Bursary

Past Exhibitions

2016 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize
2015 RA Summer Show
2014 Curwen Gallery Painting Prize
2013 RA Summer Show
2013 The Art Movement, Panter & Hall, Pall Mall London.
2013 The Perfect Nude, Wimbledon School of Art & Phoenix Gallery, Exeter 
2010 The Art of the Flaneur, Russell Gallery
2010 Dangerous Corners, JHW Fine Art, Cork St, London