Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Jeffrey Harris

Paintings, drawings and etchings by Jeffrey Harris from the Collections of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 
(Photograph by Nicole Page-Smith)

"The delicate beauty of the thin multi-layered paint reveals the texture of the wood underneath, infusing the figures with a sense of lightness and life, while the luminous colours and the balance of lightness and weight of the figures recall Sassetta's altarpieces and church frescos."
Art at Te Papa

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves, by Nicole Page-Smith

'Fall, leaves, fall'


Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow; 
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Neither Birthless nor Deathless

The current exhibition of Nicole Page-Smith's drawings and photographs took Page-Smith to her last trip to London, to browse through current literature. Nicole Page-Smith has always enjoyed the London press. Quite often the quiet Christmas holiday months are a good time to catch up on some reading. Working as a full-time artist in the studio leaves little time to browse through the catalogues and literature of an extended time overseas. There is no time to look at catalogues and art books purchased while traveling. Often, the exhibition catalogues are pre-released prior to an exhibition, especially a traveling show and this allows referral, good planning for the trip. Traveling overseas is precious.

Sometimes selecting a book from the shelf is the best way forward for Nicole Page-Smith with a new direction for the work in mind. Often with the abundance of literature available Page-Smith can be pulled one way or another and some books get left half finished, for a future date. One such philosophical text, Nicole Page-Smith, had on her top shelf, for a selection was only half read and Page-Smith does remember the inquiry started in her early twenties. Nicole Page-Smith was asked to explain her work at art school and this intellectual communication became the norm for Melbourne based artists of a contemporary nature. 

Nicole Page-Smith recalls nature in bound and plenty. 


Friday, 25 November 2016

After Durer- Paintings by Nicole Page-Smith

"After Durer" 

Paintings by Nicole Page-Smith

Nicole Page-Smith's preview review of her exhibition of images "After Durer" was held in Page-Smith's Dunedin warehouse precinct studio. The fashionable address has been well tenanted over Nicole Page-Smith's fifteen year residency in Dunedin, New Zealand. The former Melbourne artist moved to Dunedin in late 2000 from Melbourne, Australia, where Page-Smith held her former studio, also located in the central CBD of Melbourne. Nicole Page-Smith held three studios in the centre of Melbourne in disused office spaces, most businesses needing lower storey offices, on floors closer to ground level. The peace and quiet was well observed and although, Page-Smith had commented about feeling like her studio was up there with her feathered variety of friends, Nicole Page-Smith, remembered reading something in the paper about the perfect height of a building was as tall as trees grow. High-rise buildings are apparently unnatural to the senses but this was predominately the view out Page-Smith's Melbourne studio windows so, Nicole Page-Smith, felt up there with the pigeons and a bird's eye view. The current, Dunedin, warehouse studio, in New Zealand, is a ground floor business, in a nice, treelined, street, Page-Smith's long, dreamed of, "ideal studio". 

Nicole Page-Smith often feels viewing art is like an interview with the artist whereby you have to ask questions as with reading novels where it takes the first chapter or sometimes half the novel before you can understand the voice of the writer. In early literature reinterpreted into a comprehensible readable language as you have to imagine Greek philosophers of early and pre-Christian times wrote in Ancient Greek; mostly English versions of ancient language would have been translated from Latin. In more recent, social media history, musicians are quite often asked what they would have to say if they met the composers from whose compositions they are singing or playing the compositions of, for example, Handel, Brahms and so forth. Nicole Page-Smith has not wondered what it would be like to meet Durer, if you could step back in time but, stepping into an ancient history museum is similar to reading ancient literature. Durer appears to be working for the church and his patrons of the arts, annotating the bible like say, William Blake, may have done with Blake's illustrations. Five hundred years hence, Durer could not understand your German if you were a fluent speaker of German let alone your current English. If, for example, we tailor our minds back to Shakespeare, written in the native tongue, Shakespeare is predominantly unreadable.

Nicole Page-Smith feels mostly we are influenced by the strongest influence of the day. For example, David Smith, the former American sculptor, talks about the artists who preceded his work, in televised interviews. David Smith would have been perhaps influenced by current literature of the day like books on Cubism. Cubism would make sense as reference to David Smith as his sculpture is in the modern style but you would never think of David Smith looking at early Modernism or even coming out of Modernism. If you think of who surrounded Durer in early, Northern Renaissance art, Durer's style would predominate and refer to all we currently have available in literature and books, on Northern Renaissance, painting. Nicole Page-Smith, in thinking about the early development of Modernism which all Western art refers, from current text, does think about Picasso and perhaps, Braque and Cubism, could be a reference to acquiring a modern style. Early, European Modernism was particularly influenced by the primal arts from Africa down through to the Asia Pacific region. Those living in the South Pacific and Southern Hemisphere are predominately influenced by the primal, primitive, arts, too. If you look at the history of the Australian, style of art, you can see the influence of Aboriginal art, on artists like Tony Tuckson, Ian Fairweather, John Olsen and Arthur Boyd through to Albert Tucker and Joy Hester; Aboriginal art had a huge influence on their style. Where, in New Zealand, the Moari and Pacific Island arts, appears to have influenced everybody from Colin McCahon and Tony Fomison through, to the current modern style of contemporary art. The people of the South Pacific are luckier than their European counterparts because there are better examples of primal arts available and more on display. The Pacific arts are still a very strong component of museum history.

Nicole Page-Smith has a religious view.



Thursday, 10 November 2016

After Durer

Durer's Self Portrait, Nicole Page-Smith, 2013

After Durer

"After Durer" is the name of a recent development on the current series of Nicole Page-Smith, paintings. On Nicole Page-Smith's last European excursion, Page-Smith, decided to contribute her first photography project, a series of photographs taken while traveling around Europe. It is interesting how memories swell and resonate in the mind and are remembered several years later. The current, Page-Smith, paintings, sometimes use photography as a reference and other times memory. Nicole Page-Smith spent three months traveling around Europe, in 2013, using Frankfurt, in Germany, as a base. Frankfurt was also, host to a major Durer exhibition in the Stadel Museum over the three month stay. While, in Frankfurt, there were several other exhibitions worth attending including a major exhibition of late Philip Guston paintings, Theodore Gericault paintings and Roni Horn photographs, at the Schirn Kunsthalle. Art exhibitions and music are in saturation throughout Europe so, the influence of viewing takes years to absorb. Other, exhibitions included: Dix/Beckmann, "Mythos Welt", in Mannheim; Zurburan, Antonello da Messina, and the Venice Biennale's exhibition, in Italy; "Springtime in the Renaissance", at the Louvre Museum, "The Renaissance and Dream", at the Luxembourg Museum, Erwin Blumenfeld photography and Pierre Huyghe, in Paris; Paul Klee in London; and Edvard Munch, in Zurich, Switzerland, to mention a few. 

The "After Durer" series of paintings are after the Nicole Page-Smith, photographs of the Albrecht Durer, "Self Portrait", 1500, held in the Alte Pinakotheck, collection, in Munich, Germany.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016



Nicole Page-Smith has completed her first painting assignment. For the past four years, Page-Smith has been contributing to the long awaited catalogue address for the much anticipated, fashionable, sculpture project. The Harris Smiths regular workload does involve long hours of hard work at their combined fashionable, enterprise and god bless! The predecessor to the Nicole Page-Smith's contemporary, painting, project were many hours of photography and research. "Pawmistry", your numbers are up, fated at the fashionable Harris Smith address as though written like the lines on your hand or the palmistry of another, does include a selection of Nicole Page-Smith cat paintings, larger cat photographs, video work of a sociable nature and a few garden experiments. Research is sometimes closer to home, throughout Asia and does include the famous Japanese-French cat paintings of Foujita. When you think of famous paintings of cats, the mind, also wanders, to the French with Pierre Bonnard or Franz Marc for the Germans. Many fond a Frenchman included paintings and drawings of cats such as the earlier French Romantic painter, Eugene Delacroix. 


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Renaissance Days

Renaissance Days

With the closing of the very successful, Jeffrey Harris, exhibition, Renaissance Days, an exhibition of recent paintings, the Harris Smiths would like to restock and thank our patrons, greatly, for their appreciation. The well deserved and much recommended show deserved enormous acclaim. Jeffrey Harris has been diligently working away on this small set of paintings, in-between exhibitions, for about as long as the Harris Smiths have known one another. The first time New Zealand saw a similar group of paintings was back in the seventies in a successful show, in Wellington. The small size were like precious keepsakes, reminiscent of the late Victorian era where, children and family members were the subject of painters and, early photographers. Similarly, more recently, contemporary, American, figurative painters such as the satirical paintings of John Currin, have also reflected on a bygone era of Edwardian society portraits and Currin is equally influenced by old master painters from the Renaissance through to Mannerism. Also, the transcendental, philosophy of Henry David Thoreau's "Walden or, Life in the Woods", springs to mind. 

Jeffrey Harris rose to critical acclaim, in New Zealand, from the seventies through to the eighties with his American debut, in the 1982, Carnegie International, exhibition, in Pittsburgh. This was followed by a move to Melbourne, Australia, in the eighties where, Harris stayed for a further, fifteen years. Australia is also, well rewarded, by the early post colonial, Heidelberg School painters of the era, artists like Charles Conder, Arthur Streeton and Frederick McCubbin. Harris's petit society paintings are also of this class, although, the paintings of the Heidelberg School are traditionally larger in size with similar post English memoirs of the late Victorian era being common themes; families and the figure in the landscape. The Renaissance of a society, long past, for the post colonial outposts from England, Australia and New Zealand. However, Harris, holds the Italian and Northern Renaissance, portraiture work, closer to heart. Jeffrey Harris continues on the small series of paintings, looking, reading, traveling occasionally and absorbing the music, Durer's "Saint Jerome in His Study". 

 Jeffrey Harris looks forward to the Harris Smiths next trip to Italy with another, of the very scholarly and much anticipated, old master, Renaissance art, tours. Society beckons Venice. The exhibition, Jeffrey Harris Renaissance Days, continues with the catalogue address and an impressive book to compliment the fashionable, small, works, well housed in many private and public collections. The continued series of current, Jeffrey Harris, paintings would not be out of place in any society rooms or museums, worldwide. The current address of international sympathy needs to be redressed from London to New York. Current fashions indicate well and Jeffrey Harris is well placed in and, amongst, this forum. We look forward to the current patronage.