Representational painter Michael Doherty, Born in Troon, Scotland, engages with theatricality and frivolity in his work, encapsulating Renaissance painting, 19th century academic painting, animals, nature, irony, the kitsch, sexuality and the poor in taste in large and small scale, still life and figurative works.


The work Michael makes is modern in its sensibility, while attempting to communicate his love for tradition in its execution. Through it he illustrates intense fantasies and examines desire. The paintings are substitute for a strong want that is absent, a celebration of traditional methods of oil painting with a modernistic inflection of ludicrous irony. He communicates this through renderings of the figure, objects, animals and landscapes. The work is pursued with a feeling of joy, a tongue-in-cheek sense of camp and levity. He insists on utilising techniques of 19th century academic painters and the visual cues of the baroque and rococo period. This may seem anachronistic in the light of contemporary, critically-aware painting, particularly in the United Kingdom, but he deploys this knowingly so that it endows the paintings with a camp sense of irony which incorporates the themes perfectly. This aesthetic was cleverly described by Liberace as “Palatial Kitsch”.


Michael's work meditates on the contemporary value of painted imagery and the environment in which it exists. Painting is often seen as frivolous and is infused with a sense of non-functionality. In this it is a humorous, corporeal microcosm of many aspects of modernity. His paintings attempt to parody this impression and solidify representational painting is a vital descriptor and rationalisation of the times.


Michael tries to create an environment through the conscientious renderings of fine fabrics, ripe fruits and lush landscapes. He employs a variety of visual languages, using elements of Neoclassicism and Academicism with a sense of heightened theatricality, he borrows motifs from 19th Century salon painters like Bouguereau and the more overtly flamboyant works of Thomas Gainsborough.


Michael shares the joy of painting with his work, this joy comes from the realisation that there are inherently solutions to the problems of how to represent effectively, they lie in gaining knowledge and experience. Michael views the painting process as a structure for addressing complex and difficult issues. It reflects the subject matter, using a rich “Neapolitan” of techniques that refer directly to the history of oil painting and more modern experimental methods.

In making an honest attempt to revive traditional, representational painting and ground it in contemporary art, Michael builds a conceptual space where desirous subjects are the norm. This is a surrogate for desire which is otherwise lacking. Abundant, saccharine and irreverent, with his work he tries to embody contemporary living.


Michael James Doherty

Scottish Visual Artist

Born: Irvine, Scotland, UK, 1993

Email Address:

Current Address: Glasgow, United Kingdom




Marr College


Aug 2005 – June 2011


Ayr College


Aug 2011 – June 2012

HNC Art & Design



Robert Gordon University


September 2012 – June 2013

First Year Studies Cert. BA Painting Honours



Dundee University


September 2014 - Present

Fine Art BA.

Honours Upper Second Class


Selected Exhibitions:


Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries

Royal Scottish Academy

The Mound, Edinburgh EH22EL · 0131 6246110

9th March – 3rd April 2019

Green Gallery Christmas Show

Green Gallery

The Coach House, Baron Ct, Stirling FK83NX · 01360 850180

6th December 2018 - 17th  January 2019


Green Gallery Autumn Showcase

Green Gallery

The Coachhouse, Baron Ct, Stirling FK83NX · 01360 850180

28th September – 3rd November 2018


Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Degree Show 2018

Duncan Of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and Cooper Gallery

Perth Road, Dundee DD1 4HT · 01382 388828

18-27 May 2018


DJCAD Painters Showcase Events

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and Cooper Gallery

Perth Road, Dundee DD1 4HT · 01382 388828

Painters Events 1-9



“Generator” Projects Members Show

Generator Projects

Group Exhibition

            25/26 Mid Wynd Industrial Estate

 Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom DD1 4JG

17th-28th February 2017


Elective Module Exhibition

Group Exhibition

Main Lobby, Crawford Building

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design

Perth Road, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom DD1 4HT · 01382 388828

20th-27th March 2016


Awards and Prizes:


James Gurthrie Orchar Memorial Award Winner 2018


Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporary 2019



  1. Moderator of “DJCAD Painters” Community

June 2017 – Present

2. Self Employed Private Tutor

July 2016 – Present