Michele Theunissen

Michele Theunissen shifts between interests within the different chosen media, with film being a vehicle most suited to political commentary or experimentation with projections in spaces. The exploration of skin and surface lead her paintings to a more abstract approach, driven by an interest in the pulses and invisible forces that underpin form.

Evaporate, 2018-2019, glue size, egg tempera, pigment on canvas, 102 x 102cm
Evaporate, 2018-2019, glue size, egg tempera, pigment on canvas, 102 x 102cm | Michele Theunissen

Michele Theunissen was born in South Africa and moved to Australia as an adult in 1981. She completed a Master of Visual Art in 1995 at Curtin University and her first solo show was at Galerie Düsseldorf in 1998 where she remained as an exhibiting artist until joining Goddard de Fiddes Gallery in 2002. Michele maintains a consistent art practice across a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, film and painting.

Michele shifts between interests within the different chosen media, with film being a vehicle most suited to political commentary or experimentation with projections in spaces. An early interest in skin has been used as a motif both in painting, expressing the way that the elements of nature write on our bodies, and in film, to narrate stories of race, of family and our attachment to place.

The exploration of skin and surface lead her paintings to a more abstract approach, driven by an interest in the pulses and invisible forces that underpin form. Paradoxically, it is through the use of material substances, the physical stuff of matter on a surface, that the paintings exist. In this binary relationship between pigment and a subject matter that is elusive and indefinable, something comes to exist albeit ambiguous: something felt rather than known. During the making there is an attempt to push thought aside and let intuition creep in to guide the process, being present to the relationship between its own materiality and herself. 'I am because you are' produces a third thing. This notion can be extended to the relationship between the works and how they impact each other, between the artist and others, and ultimately between the work and the viewer.

Michele's film work has shown in all the main institutions in Perth, including PICA and Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, and in Sydney at Performance Space and Artspace.

Her works are held by several public and private collections, including Artbank, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Kerry Stokes Collection, Bankwest, Burswood Collection, Curtin University, The Holmes à Court Collection, The University of Western Australia, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, Mundaring Shire Art Collection, Royal Perth Hospital, St John of God Health Care and Wesfarmers.