Michael James McCormack

Newcastle & Gateshead

From grand national narratives, to obscure queer histories, to local folklore I look towards the past for ideas, imagery and inspiration. Through researching a diverse range of historical sources I catalyse a playful and inquisitive approach to painting.

Conceptually, I am drawn to history as I see it as a vast shared public record with the potential to connect many different people.

Each painting is like an essay, an opportunity to express a distinct visual concept, a chance to practice a new skill or technique and an opportunity to document a particular moment of human history. My paintings collage a mixture of figures, imagined landscapes and colourful abstract mark making as I explore the boundaries between pictorial representation and complete abstraction.

Recently, after working as an apprentice furniture maker, I have married my paintings with original woodwork frames made in a variety of styles.



Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, First Class Honours BFA (2015-2018)
The Art Academy, Borough, London, Foundation Diploma – Distinction (2014-2015)

Exhibition Profile

Home, part ii (2023), The NewBridge Studio Project Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
Lightbox Commission (2022),BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
Middlesbrough Art Weekender (2021), The Auxiliary, Middlesbrough
Goosebumps (2019), CONNY Arts Festival, Consett, Co. Durham
Three Teasers (2019), Open Studio, North Shields
BEEP Contemporary International Painting Biennial (2018) – Swansea University, Swansea
Ruskin School Degree Show (2018), University of Oxford
Ladies and Gentlemen (2018), TESTT Space, Durham

Skills & Experience

  • Technical: exhibition build
  • Technical: framing
  • Technique tuition: painting
  • Working with schools (primary)
  • Working with schools (secondary)
  • Workshops (family / general)
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