Mike Newton grew up in Zimbabwe and was schooled there. After graduating from an art college in Bulawayo, he spent 9 years travelling through Europe and the Middle East. Although he didn’t spend much time painting during this period, his travels have had a definitive effect on his art. His time in Greece, for example, is prominently represented in a large number of his paintings. On his arrival back in South Africa, he spent the first few years working for numerous publishers and eventually took on the task of compiling and publishing a private airline magazine. Now dedicated full time to painting, Mike can, at last, fully explore his creativity and talent through paint on canvas.

Mike allows the process of painting to evolve instead of forcing an end result or idea. He allows the painting to take shape and direct him towards an outcome. “A picture can be guided by the material used i.e. charcoal, acrylic, ink, wax crayon, etc. and the use of canvas, board and paper.”

“I draw inspiration from figures and figure movement. I am especially intrigued by dance movements as it stretches and contorts the figure into amazing shapes, creating tension along with the movement. Sometimes figures evolve into texture or texture into torsos, etc.  Many images from overseas, especially Greece, contribute to the formation of subjects and textures. etc.”

Two of his most dramatic paintings are tributes to the victims of the attacks on Paris, France and Orlando, USA. “I was painting torsos when these events occurred and with a combination of the emotion and shock, they gradually were incorporated into the pics. They are quite dramatic which serves to highlight what had taken place. One can only experience shock and try to transform a small part on one’s feelings into art through texture etc.”

Mike has participated in four mixed exhibitions (one ceramic and three painting) at the Alliance and at a gallery in Melville over the past few years, all with the help and guidance of Isa Schwartz Gesseau of iBi Art and Schwartz Art and Jewellery. Mike Newton will present his first solo show: Torsos and Textures in April 2017.

The show gives a mini-retrospective of some of his earlier works and then leads to the new work which has become more mature in the use of paint and the expressive quality and abstraction that is part of Mike’s style.

Says Isa Schwartz Gesseau, curator of Torsos and Textures: “I first met Mike when he came to sell me advertising for Inter Air magazine (which was a magazine I had started when I worked for the airline years ago). We met and got chatting and discovered our communal passion for anything creative and for art. Mike then came to a few lessons at iBi Artworx and we struck up a friendship that has now spanned about 15 or more years. Mike has assisted me with teaching for the NGO that I work with, Valued Citizens Initiative, and has been in three exhibitions over the years with iBi Art. This is his first solo show which is very exciting.”

“I find his work different and evocative. I like the use of textures that almost become something – the play on process that suggests the real is evocative and interesting and there is also a sense of freedom in his work. The more Mike paints the more he evolves as a painter and the more mature the artwork. It is wonderful that he has taken this step to become a full-time artist. He has so much more to explore in the future.”

Don’t miss Textures and Torsos at Alliance Française in Parkview this April!

Venue: Alliance Française corner Kerry Road and Lower Park Drive, Parkview.
Opening nights:  Wednesday 5 April – Friday 7 April from 18:00 – 21:00 & Saturday, 8 April from 10:00 – 13:00
Contact: Isa from iBi ART & Schwartz Art on 011 3271845

Photography by Gregory Licence