Australian Contemporary Art

Rachel Carmichael

Born in the United Kingdom 1955, Carmichael has lived in Australia since 1960. She began her career as a teacher in special education after graduating with an Honours degree from Sydney University, and several post-graduate qualifications from Teachers College, Nepean Campus and the University of NSW. In the late 1980’s, she taught young intellectually disabled children, and later worked as an interpreter/ tutor for hearing impaired HSC and TAFE art students.

After leaving teaching in 1988, Rachel began to develop her own painting skills. She is a self-taught artist, working in acrylic paint and mixed media on board. A number of unusual decorative surfaces are employed such as gold leaf, foil, glitter, sand and multiple layers of matt, satin and high gloss varnishes.The work is figurative and slightly stylized. Each work is a small vignette or tableaux. The paintings are small narratives engaging the viewer and prompting a response. Since 1990 Rachel has been fortunate enough to paint full time. She paints her home on the south coast of NSW, in an old coal miner’s village, between the rainforest escarpment and the sea. These surroundings have obviously proved to be an inspiration for settings of her paintings.

The Work
Rachel is a figurative artist whose work consists of small tableaux whereby anthropomorphized birds, animals, flowers, suns and moons interact with children, girls or women. The characters may be touched by melancholy, a sense of solitude, longing, envy or bad temper-the interpretation can be wide-ranging and varies according to the sensibilities of the viewer.

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