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Michael Dell: Between Nature and Nothing

26 May 2016 to 14 Jun 2016
26th May - Preview 6-8pm
‘Between Nature and Nothing’ is Michael Dell’s first solo show in Auckland since 2005. The paintings in Dell's upcoming exhibition shift between his interest in representation and abstraction
Event type: 
nkb Gallery
455 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand


Between Nature and Nothing is Michael Dell’s first solo show in Auckland since 2005. In the 11 years since 2005 there has been significant shift of focus in Michael’s work, yet at the same time his distinctive surface quality and subtly of mark making remain. The paintings in Dell's upcoming exhibition shift between his interest in representation and abstraction - the pictorial and the abstract. 

The recent landscapes paintings are worked from photographs, taken while driving around the outskirts of Nelson where he currently resides. That these roadside locations sit on the perimeter of a city or town is what draws Dell to them. In an area known for its natural beauty and holidaymaking, it is the ‘in between’ places that capture his interest as an artist. These places have a familiarity about them, while at the same time a sense of anywhere or nowhere. Not destinations, and not quite nature either. For this reason, the landscape paintings have no narrative to them, nothing going on, except an observation of a place, both known and unknown.

Dell’s abstract works have some direct connections to the representational paintings, such as the formal concerns of paint surface, materials used and size. Yet it is Dell’s efforts to create a sense of distance and detachment for the viewer that also draws a parallel between the abstract and the pictorial. As the two interplay, the works are disconnected from place, narrative and production. What is recognisable becomes entirely ordinary, disconnected from its source, while at the same time retaining a sense of the familiar. 

Michael Dell has been exhibiting since the mid 80’s and is widely recognised for the particular surface quality of his work. Dell has won a number of awards over the years and his works are held in collections across the country and overseas - including: Christchurch Art Gallery, Auckland University, TSB Wallace Arts Trust, The Centre of Contemporary Art and Tokyo Bank, Japan.

Written by

Föenander Galleries

10 May 2016

Föenander Galleries contributes to the civic and cultural landscape of Mount Eden, celebrating its rich history with the arts and promoting resurgence with new generations.