Dark Border With Blue Iris
By David Michie

Subject Matter
Reg. Number

"Dark Border with Blue Iris" is a screen print depicting a view over a garden and into a forest. The bright colours and broad, distorted areas of colour appear abstract at first, but upon examination they materialise into distinct objects. The foreground is a garden, with small flowers jutting up from the bottom of the image. The light behind them zigzags in a path across the grass back to a dark forest, illuminated by spots of brightly coloured flowers.

David’s images are carefully composed to keep the elements of each painting tightly organised within his loose, undulating lines. The title calls attention to his formalism, as the dark border is a line that divides the image in half. The silk-screening process allows for flattened areas of colour to be placed next to or overlapping each another. Thus, rather than representing distinct objects or spaces, the picture is pieced together with patches of of yellow, green, and grey. These larger regions of pigment are separated by smaller, linear elements. The twisted black branches add complexity to the charcoal shadows in the background, and the short flower stems punctuate the foreground. The lines and the areas of colour share a flatness of tone, binding them into a coherent image.

Much of David’s work depicts tropical subjects with an array of vibrant colours and patterns, reminiscent of the Fauvists’ attraction to the bright light of the Mediterranean and the South Pacific. David drew on distinct visual moments, as varied as people in cities, dancers, birds, or a flower in a garden. David would often carry a sketchpad with him wherever he went, and would stop and sketch whatever scene or object happened to catch his interest, especially those that others might overlook.

David Michie (1928 - 2015) was educated at Hawick High School and Edinburgh College of Art. After his post-graduate year, he was awarded the Senior Travelling Scholarship and traveled to Italy in 1953-54. From 1957-61 he taught drawing and painting at the Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen and from 1961-1990 taught at the Edinburgh College of Art; first as lecturer, then senior lecturer before being appointed Deputy Head of the School of Drawing and Painting in 1968 and Vice-Principal of the College between 1974 and 1977. He became head of the School of Drawing and Painting from 1982 to 1990.

He was elected associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1964 and Academician in 1972. He was also elected professional member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art in 1983 and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1990.

David Michie has won several awards and prizes including the Guthrie Award of the RSA in 1964, David Cargill Prize, Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art in 1977, Lothian Region Award in the RSA in 1977 and the Sir William Gillies Scholarship to study and travel in Australia in the winter of 1980.

He has exhibited his work in both one-man and group exhibitions mainly in the UK and Europe. His paintings are held in public and private collections, both home and abroad, including those of Her Majesty the Queen, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Heriot Watt University and in municipal and regional galleries.

Art in Healthcare's blog entry about David Michie

Art in Healthcare's blog entry about David Michie

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