Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts Portrait artist of the year series

Michael’s paintings, depicting faces in close up, have an unsettling effect when first seen. Though not large in scale (90cm square) they carry a charge which is due in part to depiction of the human gaze, and in part to the tension between subject and medium.

Michael has, over the course of his studies, loosened his interest in the original photographic image of his subject; and he now concentrates attention on the process of painting in relation to depicting skin surfaces. His palette of oil paints is harmonious; green and pink tones representing shade and shape. The brush marks and the colours both confirm and contradict the human being they depict; while engaging with the gaze, the eye is nevertheless drawn back to the physicality of the paint surface and so to the recognition of the controlling artist. These paintings are emotionally reserved, still, meditative.

Roberts is showing an increasing sensitivity to paint. His latest work in progress, a triptych, shows more freedom of handling in certain areas, as the artist explores what paint can be made to do while starting to depict a reality which goes beyond the desire for naturalism.