Infinite Variety by Nicholas Usherwood
Galleries Magazine, April 2013

A pupil of Norman Blamey and Ken Kiff at Chelsea and Peter Greenham and Leonard McComb at the Royal Academy Schools, Michael Sangster had some powerfully figuratively-oriented teachers in his artistic youth and the intense concern with the necessities of observation that their art always displayed is very much at the heart of Sangster’s intense realism. “In studying reality I find it impossible to ignore any aspect of it . . . a banquet of infinite variety and I do not want to miss any part of it” he writes, while the outcome is painting full of a quiet awe and wonder at the sheer richness and mystery of what he is seeing.

 

Michael Sangster at Gallery 27, Cork Street
Art of England, May 2013

Devotion to accuracy and reality marks Michael Sangster’s elegant still lives in his latest show. Michael Sangster elaborates: “If Modernism has been a breaking free from imitation of appearances, I have gone in the opposite direction. I work from observation, use traditional subject matters such as Still Life, and try to reproduce what I see as accurately as possible. I paint the things I am drawn to. In studying reality I find it impossible to ignore any aspect of it; but why would I want to? It is all there, a banquet of infinite variety, and I do not want to miss any of it. There is a sense of building up a complete integrity of experience, a totality made of all the parts. The marks on an apple, the folds in cloth are vital ingredients linking the overall scheme; but despite every effort at objectivity it is nevertheless experience that I am painting. It is not the apple or the jug but my experience of them that ends up on the canvas, and in that experience, without intention or awareness on my part, the things painted change from objects into presences with a life of their own, or so it seems. The element of mystery in painting is something I have always felt to be important.”

Michael Sangster studied under Norman Blamey and Ken Kiff at Chelsea School of Art (76 to 79), and Peter Greenham and Leonard McComb at the Royal Academy Schools (79 to 82). On leaving Art School he painted for a year in a remote mountain village in Italy.