A HAMBLEDON artist has rubbed shoulders with some of the top international contemporary artists at the Florence Biennale.
Michele Griffiths, who has been a full-time artist for 25 years, was one of a number of artists selected.
'Out of the blue, I got an email from the curators who wanted me to exhibit my paintings,’ she said. ‘I was excited and thrilled.’
Focusing on abstraction, shape and colours, Michele said: 'My work is very tactile. People can touch the surface which is unusual.
'I'm interested in people taking time to look at my work. The more they look, the more they'll see.’
Born in London, Michele was a languages graduate from Cambridge.
She said: ‘It was at a time when few women got in. My first career was in languages, though it wasn't really the path I wanted to take.’
Twenty-five years ago she was able to study at Wimbledon School of Art and Design where she became a full-time painter. 'Art was was always my first love,' she added.
Michele, 68, said shifting career felt wonderful and she gradually gained local and international attention.
'People have always responded well to my work,’ she said. ‘My paintings convey a sense of calm. In them is the suggestion of windows or doors. The windows go beyond the surface. People should see beyond the material aspect of my work.'
Whilst not overtly religious, there is a connection with spirituality in her painting. 'I'm interested in the comparisons with icons,' she said.
'There's a bit of mystery to my work and mystery is notably missing from and lives and other contemporary art.'
Recent successes have included a commission from P&O ferries in 2015 and being featured in two two London art shows.
'I feel my work should be seen by a wider audience outside the UK,’ said Michele. 'I'm half-French and when I travel with my art, they find it inspiring.’
Michele will be featuring her art at the 'Affordable Art Fair Battersea' in London from March 12 to March 15, 2020. She also arranges studio appointments at her private gallery near her home.