This landscape recalls a view from Brent Harris’s childhood in Te Papaioea / Palmerston North. He recounts a story of climbing on the roof of the family home as a child after a fall of snow and seeing Mounts Taranaki and Ruapehu shimmering in the distance. The palette and composition is borrowed from Giotto’s Dream of Joachim from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy; the idea of a revelation in the Aotearoa landscape from Colin McCahon’s early religious paintings. In Harris’s image, an apparition is forming in the sky, but the two onlookers can’t quite take it in, can’t quite make sense of what they’re seeing. The painting speaks of the importance of curiosity and wonder as a means of making sense of the world – but also points to the impossibility of ever being able to apprehend the full picture.
(Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania, 2021)