Michael Canning was born in Limerick in 1971, where he studied at the School of Art & Design and then in Greece at the School of Fine Arts in Athens. In 1999, he received his Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the National College of Art & Design in Dublin. In 2003, Michael was awarded the Royal Academy's prestigious Hennessy Craig Prize. The landscape elements of the paintings, which are often worked on over a period of years, relate to the artist's home in the West of Ireland. The flora is conversely painted quickly, often in a single sitting, and from life. Michael's studio is strewn with drying flowers and weeds. Although the compositions and subject matter relate to earlier periods in art history, the meaning of the paintings is rooted in more contemporary concerns. Michael is interested in philosophical questions regarding the nature of painting and representation and subverting the concept of the painting as a window onto the natural world.