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Shoreline: Paintings of Wellington’s South Coast

Shoreline: Paintings of Wellington’s South Coast

13 – 23 December

Michael McCormack

About the Show

One of the striking features of Wellington City is the fantastic coastline and the clarity of the water. No matter where you stand in Wellington, you are near the water and it serves as a sparkling blue turquoise back drop to the city. This show, ‘Shoreline’, is a series of paintings drawing inspiration from the clear waters around the eastern and southern coast.

About the artist

Michael McCormack is an Irish artist who made Wellington his home nearly seven years ago after coming here with his kiwi partner, Rachael. He is a strong believer in drawing inspiration from where he lives and all his work is about his local environment.

McCormack studied Fine Arts at the Crawford College of Art in Cork City, Ireland and upon graduation held a show of his paintings which was sponsored by prominent local brewery, Murphy’s Irish Stout. “The opening is one I will never forget,” says McCormack, “there was free flowing draft Murphy’s all evening instead of your usual wine and cheese”.

With funds raised from this show, he went to New York where he produced several paintings of the city before deciding to move to the slower pace of Hawaii. He spent two years on the islands painting and living as an artist in residence on both the Big Island and Maui. This is where he met his future wife, on her first stop over of her OE.

McCormack decided to follow her to England and sold all his work at half price for a speedy sale to pay for the ticket. Both moved to Cornwall, where Michael had his mind set on seeing the landscape which inspired the famous Newlyn and St. Ives Schools (of art). He promptly set about painting the towns of Penzance and Newlyn and several months later held a solo show at the Promenade Gallery, Penzance. The funds from these works once again funded his travels throughout India and back to Edinburgh.

For three years he exhibited his Edinburgh streetscapes at the South Side Gallery for the Edinburgh Festival while also spending time in New Zealand growing familiar with what was to be his new home.

In 2001 he held his first solo show of his Wellington work at the Woodhouse Hill Gallery in Thorndon (now closed). This was a great success in establishing himself as a painter in New Zealand but more importantly, in being his first show in a city that he did not intend to move away from. Knowing that Wellington was going to be his home for a long time, McCormack quickly enjoyed the freedoms granted to an artist who did not have to pack their bags every six months. He found a studio, painted on a larger scale and grew intimately involved with his subject matter, Wellington City. “I have always been a painter of where I live”, say McCormack, “once I came to Wellington I began to realize the significance of this in my work”. His paintings from the various places he had lived were a visual diary, loaded with fond memories and stories.

In 2003 he opened McCormack Studio Gallery in Island Bay. This has been his base for three and a half years serving as both his studio and as a point of sale for his work.

His calendar, Paintings of Wellington, is in its fourth year. It is a compilation of his paintings, much like a visual diary, of the streets of the city.

In 2008 McCormack intends to compile all his paintings of Wellington into a book.


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