The Colours of 12 Sounds. 12 of 60

Michael Smither
SKU: 12101
Availability: 1 in stock



Silk screenprint on Archival paper - Edition of 60.


Unframed 700 x 1000mm.

About the artwork

Michael Smither created this single Screen print showcasing in it the twelve images of his paintings and collection ‘The Colour of 12 Sounds’.

 About the ‘The Colour of 12 Sounds’ Collection-

In radiant Resene colours, big, bold, bullseyes pulse out from the canvas like sound waves. The longer you look, the meticulously painted concentric circles turn and vibrate with a compelling energy. Michael Smither’s startling artworks – The Colour of 12 Sounds Collection of twelve paintings. 

A leading realist painter, Smither is perhaps best known for his quirky representational approach to coastal and mountain landscapes, people and domestic objects. But during his long and prolific career, he has constantly returned to the theme of relationships between colour and sound.

That’s not something unusual for artists, says Smither. “Throughout history, there have been artists and musicians who have made these kind of connections. But they’ve done it from an emotional response. I’m not doing that. I’m saying there’s logic to both the colour spectrum and the octave, and they’re related. Therefore, the whole thing can become very specific.”

It seemed obvious for Smither to pursue a way to notate colour and hue that could be specifically interpreted in a musical composition. In these paintings, he finally seems to have cracked the code.

His journey began back at Elam School of Art in the 1960s. Smither designed the set for Stravinsky’s ballet, Rite of Spring, with abstract shapes and colours that related to the music’s dynamics and rhythms.

During the years, several more attempts were made to match compositions with shapes and colour. His most successful experiment though was with children. As part of a tour to promote his exhibition The Wonder Years, the opportunity arose to conduct three workshops.

These involved the interaction of four musicians and some children aged between four and 11. The children were given small squares of coloured paper and asked to make a pattern, gluing them onto sheets of card. Smither then marked the square of colour on each card with the equivalent musical note. The musician scanned and played these patterns of notes as they saw them and then as directed by the children. Having tried out the patterns on the musicians, many children chose to add to or alter their pattern to hear the difference. “The resultant sounds and random combinations of patterns as lines of children filed one by one up to each musician was spellbinding,” says Smither.

Michael Smither CNZM 2021.

Independent Art Consultation Service

If your space demands something different or unique, contact Christine Rabarts Art Curator for your independent personal in-house art consultation or phone for a chat about this art work.

M: 027 629 7408   E:


If your space demands something unique, contact Christine Rabarts for your personal in-house art consultation.

M: 027 629 7408


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