Page’s landscapes: An essay in colour, abstraction and implicit yarns


MY home in two cities: Aleppo, a painting in oil on canvas by Diana Page. Photograph courtesy The Henry George Gallery.

The business of being neither here nor there comes under the painterly and philosophical focus of Diana Page in her first exhibition in South Africa in several years. It’s the flipside of being out of South Africa and living in Turkey for over a decade, and there are hints of the local colour and spicy smells of both landscapes in the body of over 30 paintings.

But these are never landscapes in the conventional understanding of the genre or its motifs. Rather, it is here, where Page explores the interstices between dinkum objectively understood places captured in paint on canvas, and the sense of abstraction. And by and large, the results of this are subtle and gorgeous, mysterious and engaging.

While on one or two occasions, the approach seems too quick or heavy handed as it glosses through a sea side setting or a cloud against a pink ground, ultimately, there’s a story implicit in every work. The gallerist or his staff might oblige you and tell you these stories, but in truth, you do not need this input, as on the horns of a gestural mark, caught in the blush of contrasting hues, and straddling some wild and fresh linework, the story is there’s for the picking.

You may not grasp the real one, but does it matter? These immensely pleasant and haveable works will not haunt you with words unsaid, landscapes untrammeled. Sometimes they resonate with loud colour slabs concatenating against one another noisily. Other times, the gentle line is forced into a robust, position of power.

Effectively, this becomes a debut exhibition – because of the artist’s long absence and her presence her, now, to redefine this sense of journey – and effectively you will be curious, after you’ve seen these works, to know what may happen next in her approach.

  • Shearwater/Yelkovan by Diana Page is at the Henry George Gallery, 45 Sixth Avenue, Parkhurst, until March 29. Call 011 880 2698.



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