Michelle Brodie: upcoming artist-in-residence

Michelle Brodie is a painter based in Bolwarra, north west of Newcastle NSW. She studied fine art at Gymea Tafe and Canberra School of Art in the 1980s. In 1997 she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, majoring in philosophy. She currently exhibits widely in Newcastle, teaches painting and drawing at Newcastle Art School and was a founding member of Pandora Women Artists Group.
Michelle Brodie, Silent type, 2009, gouache on paper, 10 x 15 cm

My practice is largely concerned with questions of the imagined self and what constitutes memories of self.  Portraiture, abstraction, reinvention, identity and nature all inform my drawings and paintings.
A thematic question recurrent in my practice is, "If I could invent myself what would I look like?" I study natural forms that suggest anthropomorphism and use these in my work by transforming them into a "new form" that becomes the invented self.   I track my emotional response to site, place and self through drawings, collage and paintings.

My organic, hybrid, symbolic portraits and abstractions are both a reflection of myself and nature as I see it.  In constructing images I draw on an elemental response to the environment, finding metaphors for the self.  The images I create become symbols for ideas.  For example, drawings depicting rocky summits connect to Neitzsche’s idea of the arduous climb being a necessary struggle for the joy of reaching the peak.   

Michelle Brodie, Desiree, 2010, mixed media, 30 x 40 cm

Growing up on Sydney’s eastern beaches left a lasting impression. Now, as a regional artist my studio is inland. This means there are few opportunities to bring into my work the nuances of the coast. A residency at Gunyah would provide an opportunity to document my experience of coastal ecology and to explore further two integral subjects of my current practice: small interesting rocks and the heads of parrots.

On a residency at Gunyah I intend to create a body of work that will evolve as a "Diary  of observations, inventions and imaginings" in which I will explore intuitively the surrounding environment.  As a starting point I will document in ink on paper my response to the atmosphere of the site.  By night, I plan to explore my day’s work with oil paint on box board. This will be produced for exhibition at Podspace Gallery later this year.
(Michelle Brodie, Gunyah AIR proposal 2012)

Michelle Brodie, Redhead, 2010, oil on paper, 30 x 40 cm

To see more of Michelle Brodie's work go to www.michellebrodieartist.blogspot.com