Nightmarish but cute
Joel Thomas on Greg Page
For Art Ache at LOT23, 26th July 2018.
As a filmmaker in New Zealand, I guess it’s expected for Greg Page’s work to be a bit gothic. His paintings are like kids picture books if horror was a popular genre among eight-year-olds. They’re nightmarish but cute, familiar but uncomfortable. It’s these opposites that keep him so interesting.
Page was born in Palmerston North where he went to Freyberg High School before heading off to Hamilton to pursue tertiary studies and then begin his career in film. A successful commercial director, Page has also made endless music videos for acts like Six60, Elemenop, and The D4. He has also played drums in multiple bands and has pursued a successful career as a painter. His work has been exhibited across the country, including in collections such as The Wallace Arts Trust. Recently, he made the music video for Julia Dean’s The Panic, which features animated hand-drawn charcoal drawings accompanied by film work.
Greg Page has a talent in adding an uncomfortable element to the comfortable, making us reassess our familiar surroundings and what exactly we like about them. Probably something he enjoys, considering the rural gothic horror film The Locals which he directed in 2003.
In his work we see large dogs scribbled in black, homely settings with doors that you can practically hear creaking, human bodies filling the frame in a way that’s a little bit less than human. His work all seems to take place in a void, a surreal world reminiscent of Courage the Cowardly dog, the stuff of children’s nightmares but without being explicitly scary. Like all good horror settings, what makes his work uncomfortable is the stuff he doesn’t show you rather than what you can see.
You never see the monsters behind the doors, you never know what the looming scribbled dogs have planned, but you definitely are not going to try and find out.
It’s one thing for an artists to make their own work good, but it’s difficult to make good work which also complements the work of others. Greg Page has found multiple successful career paths doing collaborative work across disciplines, showcasing his success as a New Zealand creative that understands his discipline and how to make it stand out.
Greg Page Art Ache Archival Print (available for July 2018 only).
Article on Greg and Julia Deans around the animated music video The Panic.
Podcast of Interview between Greg Page, Julia Deans and Michael Havoc on 95bFM.
Event Press Release.