Michael Lindeman, Dear Art Enthusiast and Dear Michael, 2014, pencil and acrylic on canvas, 204 x 142 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art, Sydney.Image: Silversalt Photography

Michael Lindeman’s works Dear Michael dates back to his first job at Sizzler restaurant when he was 15. As a boy he kept the certificate of dishwashing he received and it now serves as inspiration to the adult artist. Lindeman has painted a replica of this certificate, using it as a type of humorous self-portrait. This is shown alongside a painted replica of an open letter to the viewer,  Dear Art Enthusiast, where the artist recalls his casual job at Sizzler while simultaneously questioning society’s expectations of artists.

Lindeman has hand painted large scale canvases to look like exact large scale replicas of documents – one typed, one written with biro. His mastery of painting is shown in the exactness of this replication. These works offer a portrait of the artist. Although he paints his own image at the bottom of one letter it is not this image that creates the portrait, instead it’s the image we conjure, as an audience member, as ‘the art enthusiast’, from these elements of his life – his first job, his confessions of bad grades at school and on the job pearls of wisdom – that provide the ‘portrait’ of the artist.

Lindeman embraces the open letter as a form of contemporary portraiture with considerable possibilities for commentary and humour.

– Jasmin Stephens, curator far and wide:Narrative into Idea 

The artist is interested in creating works that replicate the printing or writing process, reflected in their hard-edged, trompe l’oeil aesthetic. With deadpan humour and irreverence, Lindeman’s conceptual practice wryly addresses issues surrounding cultural meaning and the commodification of art. The irony here, of course, is that the artist himself is a willing participant of the commodity culture that increasingly commands contemporary art.

— sullivan + strumpf

See more of Michael Lindeman’s work