Michael Freeman (b.1936) is a Welsh-born artist, living most of his life and career in the Manselton suburb of Swansea, South Wales. Raised in a working-class family and community - largely self-taught - Freeman displayed a fierce auto-didacticism in both painting and classical music from a young age. Over a 60 year career, Freeman's modestly sized oil-on-masonite panels display a profound engagement in painting as a time-based and material excavation of self & environment. Deeply influenced by his proximity to the South Wales coast and sea, Freeman insists that his work be embraced within and beyond Wales - imbedded in religious, mythological and spiritual histories that address the numinous - across Northern European, Celtic and Mediterranean traditions.
Freeman's analogue to painting and the oceanic cycles of the Swansea coast is classical music. Over the course of his career Freeman has advocated for, and written about, numerous classical composers and musicians including Joseph Holbrooke and Granville Bantock, amongst others. Freeman was also a long-standing educator in the Neath, Port Talbot & Swansea regions of South Wales. From the mid 1970s through to the first decade of this century, he taught painting & drawing to working-class communities outside of established educational institutions. Funded by WEA Cymru (Workers' Education Association Wales) - a branch of the UK-wide WEA - he brought his passion for painting and music to communities whose access to such educational and creative opportunities were limited by the socio-economic conditions of their time.
Largely unknown outside of Wales until the last decade, Freeman's paintings have been recently acquired by the National Museum & Gallery of Wales, Cardiff - where several are on permanent display - and exhibited at POST Gallery Los Angeles. In 2014 his work was profiled in the UK-based painting magazine, Turps Banana. Freeman has had retrospectives at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea (1985); Gwyn Hall, Neath (2006); Oriel Ceri Richards, Taliesin Art Center, Swansea (2010); Oriel y Bont, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, curated by Ceri Thomas (2011).