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Nicholas Harding was born in London in 1956 and migrated to Australia with his family in 1965 where he quickly embraced the Australian love of sun, surf and sand. He studied for his Bachelor of Arts in 1975 and travelled to Europe and U.K. in 1977. Harding now lives, works and regularly exhibits in Sydney.
Harding was awarded the 2001 Archibald portrait prize with his Portrait of John Bell as King Lear and the Dobell Prize for Drawing with Eddy Avenue. He was also the recipient of the Peoples Choice award at the 2005 Archibald and has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize for twelve consecutive years, from 1994 to 2006 and again in 2009. The prolific artist has been a regular exhibitor in the Wynne, Sulman and the Doug Moran Portrait Prize.
A self-taught artist, Harding eschewed his background in animation, embracing instead the tactility and freedom of working in paint. His beach paintings draw inspiration from the iconic Australian relaxed lifestyle.
Thick swathes of paint roughly fashion Harding’s figures which are then pushed into the enigmatic realm. The force and movement of the pigments command the senses, allowing the viewer to not only see but also to emotionally experience the captured moment.
Thick layers of paint expose the lyrical beauty the artist sees in the great Australian outdoors. The simplistic nature of the paintings draws the viewer easily into the scene, while his bold execution creates ambiguity, challenging long held perceptions of the subject. Harding’s city landscapes are richer in colour than his beachscapes, reflecting a greater understanding of light and space and the use of black.
Harding has held numerous solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and London and taken part in many group exhibitions. He is represented in all major Australian galleries as well as national and international private and corporate collections.
Drawn to Paint, 25 Year Survey Exhibition held in early 2010 at the SH Ervin Gallery, featured a quarter century of Harding’s portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, and still lifes. The retrospective is a tribute to a Sydney artist whose works are described by art critic Alison Kubler as "a beautiful assault on the senses... “