John Firth-Smith is a much-admired Australian artist. In his first exhibition in five years, Firth-Smith is showcasing pieces of his “Rural Rust” collection.
Influenced by rusted objects found by Firth-Smith in his Hill End home, “Rural Rust” encourages viewers to find unexpected beauty in the everyday. Firth-Smith says that many of these rusted objects still hold the original blacksmith telltale marks.
Living and working in Hill End, Firth-Smith’s studio is a tin shed in the middle of the historic old gold mining town. He came to the town after art school in 1962, and since fell in love with the historic surrounds. He also became an avid collector of Australiana. “In 1962, all through this part of the Goldfields’ country there were abandoned cottages usually covered with huge giant blackberry bushes. Crawling in underneath and getting inside revealed untouched things that had just been left when people walked away. Swagmen still walked the rough dirt roads,” he recalls.
Firth-Smith now shares his time between his studio in Hill End, and his studio in Sydney. He says that the paintings in this upcoming exhibition are about his continuing love of the central west and Hill End surrounds, “The works combine memories and recent responses to these environments,” he says. “Opposite parallels- with life on the ocean that I miss when I am here in Hill End. A full circle.”
Rural Rust is showing at the King Street Gallery on William in Darlinghurst from 01 March. For more information see their website here