Michelle Abbott



Since graduating I have been a practising artist primarily based in Brighton where I have been a studio member at Phoenix Art Space Brighton for over 20 years.

I have exhibited regularly in independent group and solo shows in London, Brighton and Edinburgh, completed over 20 private commissions, participated in the Brighton Art Fair twice and The Other Art Fair London in 2012. I have also curated outreach exhibitions with the Phoenix Gallery and local cafes to promote Phoenix artists and their work.

Until 2009 I was primarily an abstract painter; however, whilst developing a new body of work which questioned human connections, chance meetings and digital interactions, I felt that paint was the wrong medium and I started using threads as a drawing medium on paper to literally tie connections together. Threads are now my primary medium and I have produced several series’ of works on paper and canvas incorporating non-objective subject matter and abstracted text.

In my connections series I investigate the paths and patterns of timelines, existence and connections with others amidst the chaos of 7 billion. Is our life a continuous flow of chance meetings, or is all directed from our own decisions; or are we simply at the mercy of a greater puppeteer. By plotting an axis of existence, almost as a ship would plot its course, I am creating patterns of life. I chart the randomness, the closeness, the continuity of connections to others and thread together the new and the old, layers of history and times gone by which are still relevant to the the now. Symbols, numerology, layers and codes of life events are charted and visually brought together using mixed media and cottons to sew the maps of time into a fixed formulaic graph of life.

More recently my disconnections series has questioned the distance between humans – whether it be via choice, circumstance or event – the pandemic has led to many disconnections from life, people and our own wants/needs and the notion of distance has created a new way of existing

Raw is a series of works that challenges the conception of drawing by only using threads as markers, as form, as colour on a variety of scales and materials. Specifically non-objective, these works play with colour and form and change with various light modes as the silk threads reflect their environment.

In 2011 my paternal family tree was traced back to 1815, all rooted in the East End of London around Bethnal Green and Shoreditch – the weavers and tailors’ quarters of that time. Looking back at my lineage there are generations of tailors, silk winders and haberdashers – I knew nothing of this when I started working with threads. In 2013 I was invited to show a series of these works in a medical centre in Bethnal Green, in conjunction with the Whitechapel Gallery, and an independent gallery in Shoreditch – it felt like something of a homecoming.

Fast forward to February 2022 – I’m honoured to receive an Arts Council DYCP award to further investigate my lineage and the practice of Victorian tailors -researching the lives, fashions, materials and influences of that period and incorporating my findings into new ways of working with threads which I will be experimenting with over the coming months. You can follow this project this project on Instagram at:- mabbottart_dycp
















1972Born in South London
1990 - 1991Epsom School of Art and Design
1991 - 1996University of Edinburgh & Edinburgh College of Art - MA Fine Art

Exhibition History

05/2016MiY Workshop, Brighton
02/2016 - 02/2017Blithehale Medical Centre in conjunction with The Whitechapel Gallery, London
09/2015Brighton Art Fair, Brighton
12/2013Freeze, Espacio Gallery, London
04/2013The Other Art Fair, London
11/2012Group show, Maddox Arts, London
05/2011Open Fridge, Brighton
03/2011Unblank, Golden Square,London
03/2011Solo Show - Moksha Caffe, Brighton
02/2011Light Bite, Nottingham
02/2011A New Year Exhibition, Rushtead House, Surrey.
01/2006Children at Risk Foundation, London.
11/2004Brighton Art Fair
10/2004On Site, Group Show, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton
09/2004Lewes Art Fair
09/2003FS+RGXM=3, Group Show, 02 Brasserie, London.
10/2002Hang Ten, Group show, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton.
07/2002And so on..., collaborative show, Mojoe, Brighton.
03/2000Kromatik, solo show, Jacs Gallery, London.
10/1999Jam - Group show, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton.
08/1999Undercurrents, two person show, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton.
05/1999TellyOffy, solo show, No Man's An Island, Brighton.
03/1999Nu Nu, solo show- Hawth Theatre, Crawley.
06/1996Welcome to Shellyland, Degree show, Edinburgh College of Art.
03/1996Young Students, RSA Edinburgh.
01/1996Dear Jim... Permanent installation at La Belle Angele nightclub, Edinburgh.
09/1995Shelly and Me, I love you with all my art, London.
06/1994Summer Show, Vintners Vaults Edinburgh