The “Hitchcock” in limited colours – Fred Page (1908 – 1984) September 5, 2016 – Posted in: General – Tags: ,

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Stark eerie images lacking human form, limited colour usage, with an air of mystery. No wonder one critic made Fred Page known as the “Hitchcock among painters”.

Page started with an unsettled past, often moving around amongst family, after his mother passed at the tender age of ten. Completing his military service, he arrives in Port Elizabeth in 1937, a place he finally called home for almost five decades. He briefly studies art for a year, and with Jack Heath’s encouragement, he starts exhibiting in 1948. His first solo exhibition was in 1960, which was followed by many others. Although he chose a reclusive life, he got around, and used the city to become his biggest backdrop with strong architectural themes. Some of his work could easily become a historical record of the precincts and life styles that may now be permanently altered, if they have not vanished.

An avid reader of a broad spectrum, but was quite a fan of science fiction that included Sheridan la Fanu, Lewis Carroll as well as Edgar Allan Poe. His observation of life on the street, combined with an interest in literature, are suggested to have influenced some inclusions and figures that may not necessarily have a logical function, but enhances the disquiet and oddness. Unaffected by world trends, Page’s work holds a classic spell of the city in which he lived, combined with the surreal and his mordant wit.