Media - Painting
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Michèle Nigrini obtained her B.A Fine Art at the University of Pretoria under Prof. N.O. Roos and other artists like Jean Kotze, Gunther van der Reiss, John Clarke and Judith Mason. She undertook postgraduate study at the same university and obtained her Master’s degree (Fine Arts) in 1994.
Michèle Nigrini's approach is based on visual sensations and the theme is just the vehicle for the interaction of line, form, mark and texture with colour as the most important element for optic and psychological impact.
Michèle Nigrini uses space and scale as well as an unconventional arrangement of everyday objects to alter their predictability - as colors change when placed next to each other, the theme of a work depends on the way that the objects are grouped or sized.
Michèle believes that art is a medium for the elevation of the spirit, yet remains rooted in the experience of everyday life.
For years this Pretoria-born artist has been known for her portrayal of the urban gardenscape as the main theme of her work.
Since 1996 however, Michèle Nigrini also explored the still life theme where she arranged objects such as fruit and vegetables or flower pots with garden structures and picket fences.
1998 saw a transition to only fruit and vegetables as primary subject matter, but simultaneously she started deconstructing and abstracting these well- known forms, placing it within a more surreal context – working with scale and pushing the limits of the canvas by creating giant sized cut-outs.
2002 and her exhibition “Household stories” presented images of her own surroundings receiving sustenance from the environment she lived in. Household objects, indigenous plants, trees, stones, hedges, grass, birds and even the odd image of a fish or wind mill. She explored the possibilities of a space, on the one hand descriptive of tangible objects and on the other hand pictorially intangible, or flat. The individual parts studied from life, the totality, imagined - her aim not to copy nature, but to re-interpret it.
“They are objects which we normally take for granted, but the extent to which we take these everyday objects for granted, is the precise extent to which they govern and inform our lives - representing the logos of a culture and recording its life history.”
After relocating from Pretoria to the small Eastern Free State village, Rosendal, in January 2004, the focus of Michèle Nigrini's work changed toward the landscape and the varied structures within it.
“The beautiful surroundings excite and inspire the imagination but although I interpret nature, I strive to express the essential character of things, submitting it to the spirit of the place... A condensation of sensation, so to speak.”
The eventual context and meaning of the work is a “happy accident” and Michèle Nigrini wants the viewer to interpret the work according to his or her own imagination and frame of reference.
Michèle Nigrini makes the frame part of the painting by incorporating it with the canvas, thus negating the frame as the artwork’s boundary with nothing to draw attention away from the work. Michèle believes that art is a medium for the elevation of the spirit, yet remains rooted in the experience of everyday life.
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