Lost Holiday: Paintings by Tracey Sylvester Harris
Paintings of bathers, inspired by mid-century black and white photos, depicting fleeting moments of leisure from long forgotten holidays.
One day I was scanning the internet for reference photos of the beach. I happened upon an old black and white photo from the 30's or 40's of a lovely woman lounging in the sand as her young daughter plays close by. It was candid - a split second of her life. It was a beautiful too, with deep shadows and a great composition. Of course, I instantly wanted to paint it. But also, I was struck by my immediate identification with the woman, even though her afternoon at the beach was almost seventy years ago.
That was the first of the Lost Holiday paintings and the beginning of my obsession with bridging the past and present. The exciting challenge is to keep the paintings relevant and current even thought the subjects come from another era. To avoid sentimentality, I keep the compositions bold and cropped, the paintwork loose, drippy and rough, even pushing some areas into abstraction.