Australian marketing giant and climate change advocate Michael Kiely has launched his debut exhibition, ‘My Kids Could Do That’, with a body of provocative abstract works at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The ticketed public event on Sunday, 30th October will showcase 48 of his artworks with a portion of the profits donated to Parkinson’s NSW.
When Michael was told he had stage four cancer and three months to live, he’d already been living with Parkinson’s Disease for over 20 years. Facing his mortality, Michael knew he had to paint.
Ever the fighter, Michael has overcome two life-threatening cancer diagnoses and has now produced approximately 600 abstract paintings. His devoted daughter, Jessica Kiely, is producing a curation of the pieces on behalf of her father to honour his dying wish of having his art shown in an exhibition.
Michael Kiely’s spent a lifetime exploring his creativity; from forging a 30-year creative career including time as the Creative Director at Ogilvy creating award winning campaigns for brands such as Toyota, Lexus, Macquarie Bank, American Express, Fuji Xerox and Australia Post, headlining weekly gigs at Sydney’s Golden Sheaf in a rock band, saving farmers from drought with his Adopt a Sheep campaign, and fought climate change as Founder and ex-Director of Carbon Farmers of Australia.
It took Parkinson’s and two bouts of cancer to slow Michael down and bring him to the canvas. He shed his self-doubt, stopped waiting for permission that was never coming and started painting for the joy of creating for himself. It was creative exploration without expectation – total freedom and totally freeing.
Jessica Kiely commented:“My father has always been a creative rebel in different forms throughout his life and these pieces offer an insight into the inner workings of his mind, and what it’s like to live through debilitating conditions. We hope that this exhibition will inspire people to follow their dreams, create more, see abstract art differently and come to have art truly move them, for the better.”
Satirising the common refrain from abstract art skeptics, “my kids could do that”, the exhibition embodies the obvious response to such derision – they could, but why haven’t you? For Michael, art is greater than some oil paint on canvas, slung about by an old, dying ad man. He believes the emotions, questions, and answers it stirs in each of us can change the world.
Michael attributes his artistic inspiration to Jackson Pollock. When he begins to paint, Michael has no real intention of what is about to be created but paints with feeling, often discovering meaning once it is complete. Struggling with the concept of abstract art and how his work would be received in the fine art world, Michael says that discovering the meaning and process behind Pollock’s work revolutionised his thought process and allowed him to embrace it.
Within his works, you’ll find reoccurring themes such as figures and the hand of god, with a particular message in each and everyone.
“Do yourself and an old man a favour, buy my art before I die. I want to see these pieces going home with people. And just think, as soon as I cark it, they all become limited edition,” said Michael Kiely.
Jo-Anne Reeves, CEO of Parkinson’s NSW said: “This exhibition gives an insight into a man who has lived with Parkinson’s Disease for many years on his own terms. He has channelled his experience into unique paintings which I recommend to anyone with an interest in either art or life with Parkinson’s. We are humbled and appreciative of the fact that Michael and his family have decided to donate 50 percent of the revenue from exhibition ticket sales to support the work of Parkinson’s NSW. This will help to underwrite the delivery of Parkinson’s Specialist Nursing services to people in their homes, clinics, and residential aged care.”
A selection of Michael Kiely’s premier artworks are available for pre-exhibition private sale and if not sold earlier, will be for sale on the day, with 10 being auctioned at the exhibition. Prices for the art works will commence from $250. There are a limited number of tickets available.
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