Half Full | Sam Michelle

Half Full | Sam Michelle


At the forefront of Australian contemporary Still Life, Sam Michelle celebrates abundance and human creativity within her practice. Michelle’s bustling compositions breathe life into the inanimate through colour, staging and poised brushstrokes. Her works are grounded in tradition, yet flourish into their own with playful wit and discerning discourse exploring creative culture.

Bursting with blooms and beautiful objects, a revelry in pleasures, and the ephemeral nature of life exists within these works. Michelle subverts a traditional interpretation of such beauty, as these objects do not simply showcase vanity for vanity’s sake. The blooms within these paintings are nurtured and grown by Michelle in her home garden. A collaboration with earth and weather, time and nature, these flowers are representative of personal passion, learning, and toil. There is a humble awe towards nature in the selection, cultivation, harvest, and arrangement of flora.

Michelle’s bouquets are nestled within a collection of ornate and tactile vessels. Her ever-growing collection of vases form the foundation of playful staging. Rustic hand-built ceramics contrast against blown glass globes and tubes which are skilfully stacked and nested. Rhythmically placed by Michelle’s expert hand, the vessels support both order and chaos. Their stoic presence underpins compositions of lively extravagance and austere balance.

Half Full sees Michelle weave past and future together, as she reflects upon life from its midpoint. Through colour, she contemplates the turning point of an abundant existence. Nostalgic and hopeful, these paintings are imbued with optimism and joy.