Michael Springer

Michael Springer: Un-Named #1.
Michael Springer: Untitled.

“Canterbury-based full time artist, Michael Springer, combines several elements and media in his artworks. Primarily working as a painter, he has also used both photography and sculpture in his practice, in which he combines elements of gestural abstraction, representational expressionism, and Dadaist assemblage to produce pieces which draw on prehistoric art as much as on modern image-making.

Springer's recent work has been inspired to a large extent by Werner Herzog's documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" on the Paleolithic cave art of southern France. These primordial images tie in with the artist's interests in the back-story of both image and material (much of the artist's work is created from found objects and repurposed paints) and the notion that the materials used have a history which somehow informs the finished works. Springer has occasionally used methods which also reflect a pre-civilized approach, such as the use of twigs and grasses as brushes.

In general, the artist is guided by his subconscious in the creation of his images, starting with dabbed paint which he then shapes into more recognizable forms once it is on his canvas. Many of the artist's sculptural pieces use driftwood and other flotsam gathered from Canterbury beaches; other materials used include slate from buildings demolished in that city's tragic earthquake. All Springer's created works, in whatever medium, seem to be haunted by archetypes and tribal spirits. The works are usually untitled, allowing the viewer to draw from them whatever he or she will without any prompting from the artist.

Michael Springer largely exhibited in non-art specific venues until 2012, but in the last two years has presented work in exhibitions in and around Christchurch and Lyttelton, as well as in group shows in other South Island centres and in Tauranga. His entry in the 2014 Adam Portraiture Award, "Anima", was chosen to be part of the touring exhibition of finalists.”

- James Dignan, 2015