Sam Michelle reconnects to the ‘play’ of life


In Sam Michelle’s exhibition Play at Martin Browne Contemporary, oil paintings of flora, textiles and vessels become metaphors for childhood creativity—a spirit that adulthood often risks losing.

In delicately detailed works that reference home-grown flowers and collected vessels and textiles, Michelle’s paintings exist in a tradition of persuading viewers to find joy and pleasure in the foundations of life: home, domestic tasks, work, and friendship.

The artist explains, “As an example. You may see that portions of fabric are used to represent a snake, and stripes on another fabric are used to represent the rungs of a ladder. Another playful example is vessels and flora constructed to resemble a jenga tower. These paintings are fun compositions of games which when played as an adult, bring out our inner child.”

View, in pictures, Michelle’s call to creativity and play.

Sam Michelle, Twister Tapestry, 2023, oil on canvas, 156 x 186 cm.

Sam Michelle, Tile 9, Play, 2023, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm.

Sam Michelle, Tile 13, Play, 2023, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm.

Sam Michelle, Amazing Grey Poppies & Plums, 2022, oil on canvas, 38 x 65 cm.

Sam Michelle, Tile 8, Play, 2023, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm.

Sam Michelle
Martin Browne Contemporary

25 May – 17 June 2023