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Michael Dell: Distant Pictures

21 Jun 2024 – 25 Jul 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Ronewa Art Projects

Berlin, Germany


Travel Information

  • M85/M48 U Kurfürstenstraße
  • U3 Kurfürstenstraße
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Presenting New Zealand artist Michael Dell’s alluring abstract color gradients. His delicately textured surfaces and hazy imagery full of subtle imperfections are the result of adding and removing numerous layers, leaving behind a residue of his process.


Ronewa Art Projects proudly presents Distant Pictures – a solo exhibition by New Zealand artist Michael Dell, with a public opening reception on June 20, 2024, from 18:00 to 20:00 at which the artist will be present.

Taking notable films from New Zealand contemporary cinema as a thematic basis for this series of nine abstract paintings and drawings, Dell creates alluring color gradients with delicately blended palettes that are rich with subtle details.

The tones of Dell’s abstract gradients – ranging from faint blues and pinks that conjure open skies and morning light to dense and shadowy blacks – reference shots from the opening sequences of his chosen films. Dell also draws inspiration from physical elements of cinema, such as the image frame, the light of the projector beam, and imperfections that appear on celluloid film. Analog photography has long been a source material for Dell’s works, often mimicking the accidental failures of film negatives and discarded film prints.

Despite the association with storytelling, the works in this show contain an ambivalence toward narrative, conveying instead an intense and absorbing stillness. This inherent contradiction is characteristic of Dell’s work. His practice oscillates between representation and abstraction; in recent years, he has often exhibited color field and gradient paintings alongside landscapes of the countryside near his home in Nelson, New Zealand. 

Dell’s approach to art making is led by process and a commitment to materiality, whether he’s creating abstract or representational work. His softened, almost hazy imagery is the result of the numerous applications of layers, which are added and removed over and over. “I try to achieve a richness and a heaviness of colour…that visually sits deep within the work.” At the same time, his paintings and drawings bear evident attention to the picture surface, creating a static tension between materiality and depth. 

Traces of Dell’s process remain on the paper and canvas surfaces in Distant Pictures in the form of fine lines, subtle textures, and a darkness he builds up on the picture’s edge. “There is this residue that evolves and remains that interests me - a residue that can only be achieved through the process of making a work.”

Michael Dell was born in 1960 in Christchurch, New Zealand, and now lives in Nelson. He has exhibited in solo shows widely across New Zealand and was selected for the touring group exhibition Print and Paper that traveled to Kurashiki, Japan. In 2020, the Nelson public art museum, The Suter Art Gallery, held a solo exhibition of Dell’s recent paintings and drawings. In 2025, The Suter Art Gallery will hold another solo show of Dell's work, showcasing his project based around the public park and former airport Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin. His works are held in public art collections throughout New Zealand, including The Christchurch City Art Gallery, Waikato Museum of Art and History, The Suter Art Gallery, and the Auckland University Art Collection. Dell is the recipient of several national art awards, most recently winning the 2019 Parkin Drawing Prize.

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Michael Dell


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