Recent paintings by David Page
Landmarks, a solo exhibition of recent landscape paintings by Norfolk artist David Page will be held in the first floor galleries of the Harleston Gallery.
When David Page worked in London he often came to stay in Suffolk in a cottage in the village of Syleham just south of the river Waveney, and he eventually settled in the region, just across the river Waveney in Starston, Norfolk in 1991. The paintings in this exhibition are the result of ten years observing the landscape & fields that surround his home, including Low Meadow, Claypit Hill and Dicky Hill.
As David Page says: I have witnessed many changes, such as the collapse of the adjacent Dutch barns, skewing its neighbours. One barn was rebuilt, but the others have gone, so that we now look west to an uninterrupted view of Low Meadow, which sways and tosses with mature grasses, like shot silk, because the cows which have grazed it for our last twenty years have now gone – and with them some of the most notable subjects of my wife’s paintings. One consequence of the barns’ collapse was that our boundary clay-lump wall began to decay, aided by the grazing cows, leading to Jane’s (Jane German) many paintings of cows looking through the holes that they had licked into shape. So, nothing stays quite the same.
White-faced Friesian Through the Clay Lump Hole, oil on canvas, by Jane German
David Page continues: I have been concerned with the way that the land is carved up by heavy machinery (burning oil, which will run out) and how the land regenerates itself. The carving up of the land is sometimes irresistibly reminiscent of images of First World War trenches – so I can’t help seeing it as some sort of wounding. The fields themselves are now empty: in the time of my parents they were full of people working. Now occasionally, there is one man encased in a tractor who moves around the field like a spaceman, without ever being quite part of the landscape. Only the annual pheasant shoot fills the fields with people. I see the landscape as an industrial site organised by farmers who struggle, sometimes to restructure nature, sometimes to collaborate with her, but at all costs to produce. Miles of hedgerow have gone to create the prairie fields of today.
Maybe some of these preoccupations are there in my paintings, or perhaps I would like them to be more eloquent than they are.
And lastly, a poem by David Page.
The Landmarks exhibiton at the Harleston Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 3pm, from 23rd July to 27th August 2011.
3 Old Market Place