BREEZE, 2003

Important Australian + International Fine Art
9 May 2007

John Firth-Smith

born 1943
BREEZE, 2003

oil on linen

75.0 x 200.5 cm

signed, dated and inscribed verso: Firth Smith 03/ JOHN FIRTH-SMITH/ "BREEZE" 2003/ OIL ON LINEN/ 2'6 x 6'6"/ SYDNEY

$25,000 - 35,000

Private collection, Sydney

Catalogue text

John Firth-Smith is one of those special artists; one who is described as a 'painter's painter'. His work is to do with paint- its application on linen surfaces, brushed, palette-knifed, dragged, scumbled, one colour layered over another, together becoming something different, of textures, colours, and inter-relationships. His art is appealing both for its figurative nuances and enthralling abstraction, dominance eschewed in favour of harmony. Whatever the titles, they can be enjoyed for the sheer pleasure of looking at paint on canvas, ideas awakened by subtleties and associations.

Nature, the sea and shore, especially the inspiration of Sydney Harbour inhabits his art in paintings that encompass the maritime and moods of nature. As a keen yachtsman, it is natural that the weather populates his paintings- Storm 1984, Southerly 1988, and Breeze 2000, calm in its long, low, horizontal format, the warmth of the colours redolent of a pleasant day. He is fascinated by the 'properties of water... like the way the wind skims the surface and changes it.'1 Firth-Smith delights in its painterly and non-figurative qualities.

Abstraction allows him to express ideas beyond the realm of realism, imbuing his paintings with the sense of time and sound- Daybreak 1986, Moonlight 1987, Rose Dawn 1987, Sounding 1989 and Strike the Bell 1990. Titles suggest and differentiate. Nevertheless, the freshness in Breeze related technique to title, the illusions of depth brought back to the picture plane by the handling of the paint, illusion and abstraction enjoyed simultaneously.

1. John Firth-Smith quoted in Wilson, G., John Firth-Smith: A Voyage that Never Ends, Craftsman House, Sydney 2000, p.127