This painting depicts a lone figure against an urban backdrop. The stark color palette suggests the inverted hues of a photographic negative, a recurring concept for the artist. Kirkham's work is painted mostly from the imagination and draws from a mixture of fantasy and reality, avoiding the use of models or reference photographs.
Michael Kirkham’s paintings depict environments populated by figures drawn from both his imagination and memory. He chooses to work without any models or references, including photographs, so as to create a space specific to painting. The results are frequently strange—compositions that embrace distortion while deliberately disregarding the “real world” and image reproduction technologies.
Michael Kirkham was born in 1971. He received his education from Blackpool and the Fylde College in Blackpool, UK (1988), the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland (1990), and De Ateliers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (1994).
Solo exhibitions of Kirkham’s work include: Negatives at Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2020); Hand in Glove at U124 project space in Berlin, Germany (2019); viennacontemporary in Vienna, Austria, represented by Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2018); Parallelwelt at nationalmuseum in Berlin, Germany (2017); Small Erotics & Still Lives at The Corridor in Reykjavík, Iceland (2015); The Indolent at Galerie Michael Haas in Berlin, Germany (2013); Hotel Grande Abyss at Aschenbach & Hofland Galleries in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2008); and Michael Kirkham at Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, the Netherlands (2007).
Select significant group exhibitions which featured Kirkham’s work include: Yes We’re Open at Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2019); Viel Feind, Viel Ehr at Peninsula Art Space in New York City (2019); Blush at Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 22 in Berlin, Germany (2017); VOLTA12 at Basel China, represented by Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2016); Roxxie, at nationalmuseum in Berlin, Germany (2015); Ontbloot, at Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, the Netherlands (2015); Bitter Süsse Zeiten, at Kunsthause Städe in Städe, Germany (2014); For the Sake of Paint 2, at Galerie Witteveen in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2013-2012); Memoires du Futur at the Collection Olbricht at the La Maison Rouge in Paris, France (2011); Lebenslust und Tötentanz at the Collection Olbricht at Kunsthalle Krems in Krems, Australia (2010); Table Dancing at The Forgotten Bar in Berlin, Germany (2009); Lanzarote at Keith Talent Gallery in London, UK (2008); Songs of Innocence and Aggression at the National Gallery Of Macedonia in Skopje, Macedonia (2007); What’s new? at Aanwinsten Hedendaagse Kunst at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem in Arnhem, the Netherlands (2006); and Urgences de Figuration at the Centre Cultural Francais in Turin, Italy (2001-2000).
Kirkham’s work is held in numerous public collections, including: the Collection Olbricht in Essen and Berlin, Germany; the Collection SOER Rusche in Oelde, Germany; the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, the Netherlands; the Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, the Netherlands; the AkzoNobel Art Foundation in Arnhem, the Netherlands, the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem in Arnhem, the Netherlands; De Nederlandsche Bank, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; the Museum for Realism (formerly the Scheringa Collection) in the Netherlands; and Sammlung Ritter Sport, in Stuttgart, Germany.
Kirkham’s work is also in several private collections in Holland, Belgium, France, Israël, Germany, Scotland and the United States.
Kirkham lives and works in Berlin, Germany.