Michael Weston

Michael Weston (born Jerusalem 1943 lives and works in Brittany and Paris) lives in a converted café in the shadow of the lighthouse marking the westernmost point of land in France. This area of Brittany is defined by the sea, before which we are all nurtured spiritually but must feel insignificant.

It is a magical place of pastel colours, whitewashed houses, pastel colours, the smell of bracing sea air punctuated by the cries of seagulls and the sound of the wind. Outside of the busy summer months there is very little human activity, although the breakwaters which act as harbour for the local fishing fleets are nearby and further inland there are various ancient ruins testifying to a rich and varied cultural heritage.

If the "heads" in Weston's work could all be read to some degree as self-portraits, then these Brittany series of works may be seen as landscapes or seascapes. However, Weston long ago gave up making such distinctions. Careful study reveals a thematic and aesthetic continuity, whether it is figurative or abstract, portrait, landscape, still life or interior. He is informed by his surroundings but paints what he feels rather what he sees. In the case of the current Brittany paintings he shares with us the smells, the views, the air and his sense of being fully present through the work.

The paintings display at once a delicate and sure touch, are atmospheric, moody and mysterious and amply reward concentrated viewing. It is a combination of paint and poetry.

I have known Michael Weston and collected his work for nearly 25 years and mounted my first exhibition of his painting in Australia in 1987. His paintings have always enjoyed pride of place wherever I have lived. A good friend of mine "a very savvy and passionate collector" when asked once which were his "favourites" in an amazing collection of international and Australian art answered with a selection arrived at using his "if I were to be marooned on a desert island and could only have three pieces which ones would I bring" scenario that included one well-known name (Matisse), one piece by an artist unknown to many but with a significant reputation and one piece by an artist who had drifted entirely into obscurity. His choice therefore had little to do with the conventional success of the artist, their place in the art historical continuum or monetary value.

It had everything to do with the pleasure afforded to him over the years by certain artworks. Collecting and enjoying art is not about signature and date - that is merely opportune shopping or perhaps investing. Collecting art is about the passion within that adds meaning to our lives. So it is with my relationship to the art of Michael Weston. He has nurtured my spirit over the years in a way that few others have and his work has imbued my consciousness and awareness of art and indeed my outlook on life. His works are like songs - they have become part of my past as well as my present. They are of my memory, signposts or markers in my own journey through which I measure progression, define my taste and embrace life.

The death knell of painting has been sounded with great fanfare every five or ten years or so in the art world since the late 1960's - only to return to the fore in some form or another with an exuberance to match it?s earlier "departure". The reality is that human beings all have the desire to pick up a stick and leave their "marks in the sand" and always will. New forms will come and go and some will stay the course and play their part in our cultural and artistic heritage providing exciting new frontiers in the creative process. However, in the end artists like Michael Weston and something as basic to human creativity as painting is no more likely to disappear than breathing. In fact it is ironic that in this increasingly digital age it is the painters like Weston who find themselves in a (paradoxically) "radical" stance.

The centrepieces of the current exhibition are two major blocks of roughly double A4 sized sheets of paper totalling over one hundred pieces. The process derives from the time honoured sketchbook. Weston's works however are not sketchbook "diaries" as is often the case but rather finished paintings using the sketchbook as support. I first saw the fruits of the current work pinned to the walls in his spacious studio in Brittany eighteen months ago and saw another variation on the walls of his Paris studio last February. The impact of a large number of works together was extraordinary and my initial reaction was to pick out the most attractive ones for exhibition - a precarious task at best as some works come more fully found on their own and others seem to prefer to wait until they are set in series and contrasted with other works. In the end we decided to exhibit them raw and unframed in order to invite the viewers of this exhibition to see the work relatively unedited by either the artist or myself.

Using this approach, the gap between the process of creating by the artist and the act of looking by the viewer is reduced as much as possible through limiting the influence of the necessarily self-conscious, conventional act of "exhibiting". In this show, one sees the works in a near random arrangement as intimately as possible so we may best engage the spirit in which they were painted. It is up to the viewer to use their own creative juices, in the experience of looking, to find aesthetically satisfying or emotionally stimulating relations among the works that say something personal. You are invited to "take some pages" out of the life of the artist and arrange them according to your own inspiration. If your choices give you a fraction of the pleasure this art has afforded me over the years you will have done very well indeed. Lastly, this is Michael's fourth solo exhibition with us since 1987 and I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of my wife Anne and myself to thank the artist for his loyalty, support and friendship over the years. He exhibits regularly in France and Finland and his work is in numerous- private collections in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.

- Bill Gregory Sydney May 2007


Michael Weston
The centrepieces of the current exhibition are two major blocks of roughly double A4 sized sheets of paper totalling over one hundred pieces. The process derives from the time honoured sketchbook.
Wed 30 May - 7 July 2007

Exhibition features:

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Please note, works in previous exhibitions may no longer be available, please visit our stockroom for available works