Australian artists' sentimental strokes of China inspiration

By Rebecca Lo in Hong Kong ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-03-30 07:51:09

Australian artists' sentimental strokes of China inspiration

Euan Macleod's Hong Kong Triptych is on show. Provided to China Daily

 Michael Nock has come full circle.

"All I wanted to do was paint in high school," the longtime Hong Kong resident admits, as he points to two oil paintings produced when he was a teenager. We are in the heart of industrial Aberdeen, where Nock has a space for his Art-Lease collection and a studio upstairs where he paints.

He is feverishly preparing for The Painters' Journey, an exhibition featuring the China-inspired works of prominent Australian artists Peter Godwin and Euan Macleod. Also included will be photography by Hong Kong-based Australian Jason Capobianco.

Nock hopes that alongside those distinguished names, his own paintings will pass muster. Campbell Robertson-Swann of Sydney's Defiance Gallery will have the final veto; his gallery represents Godwin and he is curating The Painters' Journey. "He will act as our independent arbitrator," smiles Nock.

Paul Tighe, Australian consul general for Hong Kong and Macao, will officiate the exhibition's opening at Pao Galleries on April 2. Nock envisions the show as a promising start toward a long-term relationship between Chinese and Australian artists.

Originally from Australia, Nock moved to Hong Kong 34 years ago to set up Merrill Lynch's office. He continued to build his career in investment banking until the age of 35, when he sold his business and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his original dream of being an artist.

Although not exactly a starving artist when he labored toward bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts, he nevertheless moved back to Hong Kong and into fund management again after he had two daughters.

A longtime art collector, Nock got a call from Art-Lease founder Belinda Kruger in late 2012. "'I'm moving back to New Zealand'," he recalls her saying. "'What do I do with Art-Lease?'" Nock took it over at around the same time that one of his Aberdeen tenants vacated an industrial space that was ideal for storing canvases.

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