"What are you looking at?"

Michael Rossiter Exhibition Flyer Soft Copy
Exhibition Flyer Info side

Michael is a neo-surrealist painter, depicting dream like scenes of his utopian world which is a little bit willy wonker, mixed with some Dali and a dash of Escher.

Michael's third solo exhibition features paintings from the past five years, a period in Michael's life
that saw huge changes which is evident in his work.  It was during this timeframe that he found out he was going to be a dad... to then becoming one, twice over.  First a girl in 2009 and a boy in 2011.

He says that this time in his life was filled with so many emotions, from feeling terrified at the prospect of becoming a dad, to feeling pure love and amazement the first time he held his babies in his arms, and then back to reality and the pressure of everyday life raising children.  "Parenthood changes everything, it makes you want to be the best person you can be for your children, and it definitely made me view the world very differently".  His paintings reflect all these emotions, fear of the unknown and unabandoned joy, light and shade.  The new work also marks the rise of his watching eye, symbolising protection - a desire to keep his family safe from harm.  "The worries never end when you become a parent and "What's on the Box?" came from feeling weighed down with responsibility when my son was born" he says.  When you view the painting Michael refers to you can see a tortoise like creature with so much strain in his eyes as he is weighed down by a large television on his back, and his stomach is also hollowed out with a niggling little creature with a pointy beak poking out from within. 

Michael is a big fan of things that are slightly left of centre, including the work of Director, David Lynch.  "I read once that David Lynch made Eraserhead when he found out he was going to be dad, so I guess this body of work is my Eraserhead".  However, since becoming a dad it has also enabled Michael to bring out his inner child and to reflect on his own childhood - a daydreamer with a wild imagination and a talent for drawing all kinds of unusual characters.  These characters come from somewhere so deep in his subconscious, and a lot of his sketching time is while listening to ambient music without lyrics, "the music really does take me on a journey and conjures up all types of images in my head".

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His move to the Blue Mountains has made an impact on his recent work, "when I started painting I was living in Leichhardt and my studio was in an attic, so moving to the Blue Mountains was a huge change, so much space and being surrounded by nature and the visibly changing seasons", apparent in his work which largely feature strange characters in natural settings.  He confesses that he is a bit of a weather nerd too so has always really enjoyed painting skylines.

Michael is looking forward to his exhibition "I'm excited but also anxious, like any artist I am putting myself out there and exposing myself to criticism" he says, "I know that my style and subject matter won't be to everyone's taste and I accept that, all art is subjective, but what I've found so far is that the people who love my work, really love it, and become collectors." 

The Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
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