Dark Border with Blue Iris
By David Michie

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Year
1992
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Still Life and Flowers
Reg. Number
G284
Size
62 x 79 cm

"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 seperated 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) studied at the Edinburgh College of Art from 1947 to 1953 under the painter William Gillies. He was awarded a travelling scholarship upon graduating and travelled to Italy in 1953 with fellow painter and friend John Houston. On returning to Edinburgh he took up a post at the College of Art, becoming Head of Drawing and Painting from 1982 until 1990.

He was an elected member of the Royal Scottish Academy, The Royal Glasgow Institute and past President of the Society of Scottish Artists. He was awarded an OBE in 1997. His paintings are held in the collection of H.M. The Queen, The Scottish Arts Council, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and other major public collections of Scottish art.


Art in Healthcare's blog entry about David Michie

Art in Healthcare's blog entry about David Michie