Then to London where I stayed for three months, off and on, also going to Paris, Holland and Belgium. I loved the energy of London for contemporary art, it felt like anything was possible because there was so much going on. Exhibitions of Pedro Cabrita Reis, Monika Sosnowska, Jannis Kounellis, Cindy Sherman, George Condo, William Eggleston, Robert Frank and Bruce Nauman, the list goes on, another trip included Fischli & Weiss and David Smith at the Tate. When my feet touch European soil, I feel like I am running. The Traces du Sacre at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, the Glyptothek, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Alte Pinakothek, Isa Genzken in Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Caspar David Friedrich in Berlin and a show in Hamburg, Rogier van der Weyden in Frankfurt, Christian Schad in Vienna, Messerschmidt and so forth. Upon return, it takes quite a lot to absorb all the information while I continue to make art, read, write and think. Eventually I gained the courage to approach some international art professionals from established museums, including the Tate Modern, sending out about twenty letters and not really expecting to hear back from anyone, I received several major responses. Feeling like I was dreaming, I communicated the response to the 'so called' art professionals of my own two countries but far from the celebration one might expect, the response was either ignored, trashed or laughed at. So, in the end, who are they?
The love affair with Europe continued and I have now travelled there several times, even winning an 'around-the-world' trip from the supermarket in 2006, going to Athens and Delphi, among other places. The first trip was in 2004, I arrived in Rome and just felt like I was home at long last. I had seven museums and several churches to visit in four days because of my study project and loved the place. Then to Naples for an incredible Caravaggio show at the Capodimonte Museum, The National Archeological Museum and the Museo Cappella Sansevero. Florence was the sculptural highlight with the Bargello and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Donatello, Settignano, Luca della Robbia, I felt like I was in Heaven. Bologna for Niccolo dell'Arca's Lamentation and Venice, such a wonderful city.
I continued to look at art from a large number of sources: galleries, art magazines, libraries, arts bookshops, etc. also really liking American art from the 1960's and 1970's for example, Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois.
Louise Bourgeois, Fillette, 1968
Eva Hesse, No title, 1970
Nicole Page-Smith, Melbourne studio 1999,
I then moved to New Zealand in late 2000 and although, stuck in the 70's, the place seemed quaint and interesting. I find it quite odd in my two countries that libraries, news-agencies and bookshops are full of books and magazines from the the whole history of art to the present day but few people seem to have a general understanding. Reference books and magazines also make a far more informed internet search, the worlds biggest library.