Artist Profile
Your friend the enemy

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd’s paintings are characterised by an understated, subtle palette.  Meticulously painted and with particular attention to intricate detail, his works have long been interested in New Zealand history.  


His practice is reminiscent of the old masters, utilizing 17th century Dutch painting materials and techniques that almost render his paintings just as historic as the past subjects that inspire them.

This interest in the past, and his involvement with Your Friend the Enemy is underlined by the experiences of his family members in world wars.

Shepherd states that “painting history has become a compulsive activity, just continually trying to reconstruct these long-banished worlds.”  As a result his paintings are extremely personal recordings of the past, impressions that are subjective recollections.

Michael Shepherd was awarded a M.N.Z.M (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to the Arts in 2008.  In 2005/2006 a major survey exhibition of his work was exhibited at the Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui, Whangarei Art Museum and Rotorua Museum of Art and History, and another was held at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch in 2001.

Image 1: Rotting Reconstruction, 2014, NekAcrylic polymer,NZ and Gallipoli clay and sand on Hahnemule paper, 28 x 37.5 cm
Image 2: Bitch-Cape Helles, 2014, acrylic polymer,NZ and Gallipoli clay and sand on Hahnemule paper, 280x 37.5mm
Courtesy the artist

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