Out/About: Nicholas Harding ‘Garden and Landscape’
Walking into a Nicholas Harding exhibition and you are immediately transported to the places where he finds beauty, from the intimacy of the garden to the majesty of a wider landscape. Harding works from a studio in the heart of urban Sydney and after many years understanding his immediate surrounds he now travels further afield unlocking the lyrical splendor of the land.
His paintings display a deeply coherent understanding of his medium; the paint is luscious and thickly applied. Marks are swiftly made and then revisited to build a surface that generates as much of a landscape on the linen as the composition that takes shape when viewed from a distance. In this show at Sophie Gannon’s Melbourne gallery the view takes us from the swampy plains of the Kosciuszko National Park to the rugged beauty of the north coast of NSW, where he has holidayed with his family for decades. He marries this with the floral studies from a glorious garden in Tumbarumba and an arrangement of “Newtown roses” with a seemingly intoxicating scent that emanates throughout the gallery.
Harding is a regular in the Archibald Prize (and winner in 2001 for an imposing portrait of thespian/director John Bell) he also dedicates considerable time to his drawing projects and is an impressive draftsman. During a recent residency in Paris, where his studio overlooked a travelling theatre company, he began sketching the actors rehearsing from his window. This resulted in an invitation to draw the rehearsals at the Sydney Theatre Company (follow @nicholas0harding on instagram for a sneak into his wonderful sketchbooks). He is also working on a series of large scale works on paper of people and their pets for “The Popular Pet Show” to be staged at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra later this year.