VON LINTEL GALLERY

Thursday, April 28, 2011

'Marco Breuer: Line of Sight' at de Young Museum | San Francisco Chronicle Review/Interview

Conceptual artist Marco Breuer installs his exhibition "Line of Sight" at the de Young.

By Kenneth Baker, Chronicle Art Critic

"Despite the technical training in photography that Marco Breuer received in his native Germany, no one calls him a photographer without irony. "Conceptual artist" fits better, as visitors to his exhibition "Line of Sight" at the de Young Museum will agree. 

Besides his own work made by abusing photo-sensitive paper in various ways, the show contains an antique costume, a figure-eight-shaped shield from New Guinea, a 19th century American portrait painting masked by conservators with a patchwork of paper swatches to stabilize its crumbling surface, and an antique child's chair whose circular cushion echoes the concentric rings in Breuer's scored "Spin (C-818)" (2008). 

Yet for all the strategic thinking in it, the exhibition also makes plain Breuer's fascination with aesthetics - just not with the aesthetics of pictorial representation.

A resident of upstate New York in recent years, Breuer came to San Francisco in late March to install his show. We spoke just after he finished.

Q: This show involves much more than your own work. How did you approach it?

A: As sort of a three-part process. The first part was coming here last fall and looking at the museum collection. And you know, it's a very peculiar collection. It's deep in some areas - such as in textiles, it's incredibly deep - and in other areas it's very thin. But the range is enormous, and I had access to conservation and storage as well.

Then, I wanted to mirror that in my own work without making something new in response, so I went through my archive looking for work with the de Young objects in mind.
The third stage was working here in the gallery. ... To put it all together and respond to the peculiarities of the space and the institution.


Q: Is there an order in which the show is meant to be read?

A: No. It started with the idea of a line of sight. The original proposal was that I'd go into the collection and pull out a single piece and respond with something of mine, but then the space was much bigger than I realized, and the idea just grew and grew. ... This original line of sight starts with this - a not-very-significant painting that the conservators began to work on and stopped, because it was not worth the expense of finishing. I took the pattern of Japanese tissue they left on its surface and projected it onto the opposite wall several times, and used that as a template to hang both framed work and scraps. ... So this is how it's organized. There are different axes through the space. You can pick something up in one place and maybe find it somewhere else.

Q: There seems to be a play with mirrors and doubling, evoking the redoubling that conventional photography involves, and with shooting, as with the four-barreled shotgun over there. But there are no photographs from the Fine Arts Museums' collection.

A: The core of the photographic collection is at the Legion of Honor, and I decided to set the parameters a little tighter than that, using only what's in this building.

Q: One element I don't get is the antique costume. What is that about?

A: This particular dress, because it is so faded, is a sort of walking photogram. It used to be Prussian blue. It's like an extended recording. ... No object is done after it's made. It keeps on gathering information. ... Almost everything is light-sensitive, depending on how much time you have.

Q: What about the "Pointing Stick," represented here only by a descriptive label and a chart purporting to match the range of hues on it? Does it really exist?

A: It does exist.
We tried a lot of approaches in terms of how to access the collection. We tried through the online database, but many things I responded to online I found, in coming here, didn't do anything for me as objects, with the exception of this piece" 

Read full review/interview at the San Francisco Chronicle

MARCO BREUER | "Line of Sight’ Review in the SF Examiner

Line of Sight’ at the de Young contrasts old, new


Updated interpretation: New York artist Marco Breuer used the de Young Museum’s portrait of Mrs. Mary Jane White by Samuel Walker – which is in the process of being restored – as the basis for a new piece in “Line of Sight.” (Courtesy photo)

"Artist Marco Breuer has combed the de Young Museum’s collection to create an exhibition that allows visitors to view museum art in an unconventional way.

"Marco Breuer: Line of Sight," organized by the Fine Arts Museums in cooperation with the Von Lintel Gallery in New York, is part of the de Young’s Collection Connections program, which features the work of contemporary artists alongside objects from the museum’s permanent collection.

The New York-based artist spent time last year looking at the de Young’s collection — including objects in storage waiting to be restored — then assembled the exhibit during a few days in spring.

“We hope this will stimulate our audience to think about the museum and what it collects and cares for in a new and interesting way,” says Julian Cox, the de Young’s chief curator.

Breuer’s abstract photographs are placed to create a dialogue with items that include a 19th-century English shotgun, a pair of gilded girandoles with mirrors, an Oceanic shield and a French silk-taffeta dress.

One of the most interesting pieces Breuer chose from the museum's collection is artist Samuel Walker’s portrait of Mrs. Mary Jane White, whose husband served as San Francisco’s sheriff from 1868 to 1871. The portrait, which is in the process of being restored, has several squares of Japanese tissue paper covering areas of the painting that need repair."

Read full review at the San Francisco Examiner

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TIM MAGUIRE | Opening Reception Thurs May 5, 6—8 PM

TIM MAGUIRE
May 5—June 4
Opening Reception Thurs May 5, 6—8 PM

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to announce its fourth exhibition of new paintings by Australian artist Tim Maguire.

Tim Maguire's large canvases are full of lush plant life—tightly cropped angles of multi-colored poppies in various stages of bloom and decay. Maguire's floral scenes are striking, yet for the artist the work is less about subject than the duality of process for which he is known. Melding mechanical printmaking techniques with traditional painting, the artist flips normal order on its head. Working from his own photographs of nature, Maguire builds up layers of value and tone by applying only three successive colors of paint to the canvas: cyan, magenta and yellow—successfully mimicking the buildup of color used in the CMYK mode of digital printmaking.

From a distance, Maguire's bold imagery and riotous color coupled with the paintings' smooth surfaces makes them look almost like mechanical reproductions. It is only upon closer inspection that we notice the artist's hand, surfaces interrupted by brushstrokes and sprays of solvent. The elements of Maguire's compositions break down and become abstract, more about shape and color than something figurative.

Tim Maguire has exhibited extensively in Europe and Australia for more than two decades, including a recent one-person exhibition at Birmingham's Ikon Gallery, UK. His work is held by virtually every Australian museum and is included in major public and private collections throughout Europe. The artist lives and works in France and the United Kingdom.

TIM MAGUIRE | SELECTED WORKS

Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2010
oil on canvas
38.2 x 38.2 inches
Tim Maguire
(detail above painting)

Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2008
oil on canvas
78.7 x 78.7 in (200 x 200 cm)


Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2007
Oil on canvas
71.7 x 63.8 in  (182 x 162 cm)

Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2007
Oil on canvas
71.7 x 63.8 in  (182 x 162 cm)

Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2007
Oil on canvas
47.2 x 47.2 in (120 x 120 cm)

Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2007
Oil on canvas
63.0 x 58.3 in  (160 x 148 cm)

Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2005
Oil on canvas
70.9 x 198.5 in  (180.1 x 504.2 cm)
 
Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2005
Oil on canvas
58.3 x 46.5 in  (148 x 118 cm)
 
Tim Maguire
Tree with snow (blue), 2005
Oil on canvas
57.1 x 47.2 in  (145.0 x 119.9 cm)
 
Tim Maguire
Tree with snow (blue), (detail)
 
Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2004
Oil on canvas
47.2 x 47.2 in (120 x 120 cm)
Tim Maguire
Untitled, 2004
Oil on canvas
71.7 x 63.8 in (182 x 162 cm)

TIM MAGUIRE | SELECTED PRESS


Christie's to Stage Second Modern + Contemporary Australian and South African Art Auction

April 21, 2011
Australian Modern and Contemporary Art Highlights
 
Leading this section is a single-owner collection of nine pictures by the pioneering Australian modern artist Grace Cossington Smith, including Wattle (estimate: £20,000-30,000). The property of the artist’s sister Mabel, the suite of pictures features five fine still lifes dating from the 1920s to the 1940s. Cossington Smith was one of the first Australian artists, along with de Maistre and Wakelin, to take an interest in colour. She developed her own individual technique and her works demonstrate the influence of the impressionist and post-impressionist revolution on Australian art. Painting in single dabs of pure colour, Cossington Smith created a language which was completely new in Australian art at the time and which placed her work in the vanguard of modernist art in 1930s Sydney.

Moving forwards by almost a century, the sale will include six flower pieces dating from 1993-94 and 2007-08 by the contemporary Australian artist Tim Maguire. Maguire’s work resonates with that of Cossington Smith, as he too explores the nature of pure colour, this time in the digital age. In his latest work Maguire’s dots of magenta, cyan and yellow, mixed in a computer, generate a uniquely new and intense fluorescence. One of a group of early still lifes from 1993-4 to be offered is the powerful Untitled 94U09 (estimate: £35,000-45,000). Maguire’s extravagantly enlarged images of flowers, blown up from digital DNA - derived from photographed details of those intensely observed 17th century Dutch and Flemish still lifes, and more recently from the artist’s own photographs of flowers – might be viewed as the 21st century cousins of Cossington Smith’s vibrant flowerpieces.  



Tim Maguire's floral passion

    Tim Maguire ... "the local artistic patrimony doesn't apply when
you get to Europe."
    Tim Maguire ... "the local artistic patrimony doesn't apply when you get to Europe."
    Photo: David Rose

    Stephanie Bunburry
    May 12, 2007

    IT IS ASTONISHING how one's luck can turn. Twenty-three years ago, Tim Maguire was a young landscape painter on his way from Sydney to art school in Rhode Island with a large cheque from the Australia Council in his pocket.

    "And then Keating floated the Australian dollar while I was in the air on my way to Los Angeles," the artist recalls. "When I arrived, I discovered that, during the time it had taken to cross the Pacific, I'd lost thousands of dollars."

    There was no point going on. He could no longer afford the American school's fees. Instead Maguire, now 49, ended up at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, where the tuition was free but the atmosphere ferociously constrained. He was only accepted thanks to the grace and favour of a Dutch professor who insisted that, before he lifted a brush, Maguire should travel around Europe's galleries for at least six months to gain some idea of what art should look like.

    "I didn't particularly want to be there," Maguire says now. "And in no sense did the Kunstakademie want me either. But I was really lucky at the same time."

    The legacy of that first grand tour is all around us in Maguire's London studio: vast canvases, some of which take up entire walls, showing magnified details of flowers, cacti and winter branches. These light and luminous natural abstractions have made Maguire one of the art market's great success stories. "When I started working with this floral imagery," he says, "they were based on Dutch still-life painting from the 17th century." He would choose a detail - perhaps a small square of petals from a still life of flowers on a table - and rework that tiny scrap as a large canvas, blown up to the point of abstraction.

    It sounds precious, even academic, but the effect is bold, lush and intensely physical. And, paradoxically, very Australian. "One reason I was drawn to that, I think, was because of a sensitivity to issues of cultural dislocation you might experience as an artist who has grown up and been educated in Australia and then goes to Europe and sees, for the first time, those paintings you had known only in reproduction."

    At that time, he says, he felt entirely excluded from the contemporary art world. "The local artistic patrimony doesn't apply when you get to Europe," he says. "You are a fish out of water and you have to try to link up, not only your personal world, but your cultural world with this other cultural world you are now moving through."
    The story of Australian art was largely about the struggle to use European artistic strategies within the local context, a battle of zero interest to Europeans themselves. He felt, he says, as if his tongue had been ripped out. "Not only could I not speak the language, but none of my ideas seemed to connect with anything."

    Back in Australia, meanwhile, there was a tug-of-war going on between a hard core of formalists, who talked about painting as mark-making, and the painters keen to overthrow the traces of abstract expressionism in favour of imagery. "I suppose I was between those two things," he says, "trying to find some sort of third way where the way you made things and what you made were intrinsically bound."

    Maguire always knew he wanted a career outside the confined world of Australian art. In the early '90s he went to London and was gradually establishing himself when the gallery handling his work went out of business. It was, he thought, simply too difficult to begin again, so he and his family returned to Australia, the artist resigned to pursuing a local career. Then in 1993 he won the prestigious Moet et Chandon scholarship, which allowed him to work in France under a premier cru name. It changed everything, he says. He worked, exhibited and made contacts; he wasn't going to be excluded again. After a decade in France, he is once again based in London.

    Maguire was hardly the first visitor to the Louvre or the Prado to be struck by how different it felt to look, at last, at the real thing. But the experience led him to reflect on that peculiarly Australian experience of learning a culture second-hand. "These paintings, where I would take little details from Dutch paintings and reconfigure them, were as much to do with the idea of the source and how that gets broken down, how they are changed by reproduction and by their story being told and retold, in a sort of game of Chinese whispers."

    Tim Maguire

    By Louise Bellamy

    November 5, 2005

    Tim Maguire in his London studio. "Everything I do is process
driven".
Photo: David Rose
    Tim Maguire in his London studio. "Everything I do is process driven".
    Photo: David Rose

    Tim Maguire's Unnatural
    Tolarno Galleries
    289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 
    MENTION Tim Maguire and massive canvasses chock-a-block with flamboyant flowers and bulbous berries come to mind. But little more seems to be known about this 46-year-old painter, one of the hottest mid-career Australian artists around.

    Maguire was raised in Melbourne and Sydney, moved to France in 1992, then Britain in 2002, and still calls Australia home.

    Born in Surrey of Australian parents who were teaching in Britain, Maguire came to Melbourne as a baby. Influenced by his mother, who encouraged her children to play instruments and mix powder paints, Maguire's primary interest at Huntingtower School, Glen Waverley, was music.

    But believing he wouldn't be good enough to be a solo performer, he spent years after graduating bumming around on the dole, "rebelling against my rigid family background, where the notion that God was all things good and that anything bad was regarded as a misconception".

    "Like many youthful experiences, these issues have long since been resolved," he says.
    The artist who paints for a living, plays sax in a band that recently supported Joe Cocker, adores golf and has a French farmhouse in the Loire Valley.

    It was an accidental decision, when he was 21, to go to art school: "A friend was enrolling at East Sydney Technical College and I thought it might be fun."

    During post-graduate studies he lost faith in the modernist values he'd initially embraced "because I had come to identify them with the religious values I'd rejected", and stopped using paint altogether.

    Maguire is quick to dispel the misconception "that flowers and fruit is what I do", and emphasises that since art school his practice has taken many forms. He's referring to a project based on slides of photographs of news items projected onto canvas draped over an armchair; the idea developed in a squat in Sydney's Newtown and clinched him a year's scholarship at the Kunstakadamie, Dusseldorf, under influential Dutch photographer, Jan Dibbets, in 1985.

    In Germany, away from Australia for the first time, in an unfamiliar culture and not speaking German, he began painting self-portraits with the brush in his mouth, or drawing with his feet, or with his eyes closed, "as if handicapped, being linguistically disabled and culturally disconnected".
    His loss of cultural identity led him to his Australian roots and an ironic series of landscapes featuring barbecues and water tanks in flood plains.




    TIM MAGUIRE | SELECTED PUBLICATIONS


    Tim Maguire 

    Tony Godfrey: Essay
    Jonathan Watkins: Interview
    Cate Blanchett: Foreword


    Publisher:
    Piper Press
    2007


    252 pages, 290x270 mm,
    200 colour images, hardback

    ISBN 9780975190128
    Piper Press


    Tim Maguire paints images of overwhelming beauty. Frequently cinematic in scale and distinctive for their rich colouration and technical skill, his works hover between realism and abstraction. The enormous scale of his still-life paintings make them simultaneously alluring and disorientating, and once captured, the viewer is drawn to the painted surface where layers of pure colour erupt. Maguire's work is embedded in the traditions of painting while also engaging with the contemporary world.
    Writing about Maguire's painting is Tony Godfrey, renowned author of Conceptual Art and Painting Today (two Phaidon Press titles). Godfrey focuses on Maguire's exploration of light, his depiction of the metaphorical 'skin' of the painted surface and his preparedness to confront our perceptions of the role of beauty in contemporary art.

    Jonathan Watkins, Director of Britain's Ikon Gallery and former Director of the Biennale of Sydney, interviews Maguire, discussing his practice and processes, including his use of digital technology.
    Cate Blanchett's foreword describes Maguire's painting "unabashedly revelling in its own beauty yet charged with the promise of death and decay" as well as "the beguiling eroticism of a Maguire painting's surface".

    Tim Maguire presents the substance and texture of a career spanning twenty-five years, providing an opportunity to appreciate a body of work that is compelling and unique. 

    TIM MAGUIRE | SELECTED GROUP MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS, COLLECTIONS & AWARDS

    Tim Maguire, Untitled, 1994, oil on canvas, 200.0 x 400.0 x 3.0cm overall: Each part


    Tim Maguire, Untitled, 1998, oil on canvas, 250.0 x 208.0cm

    Tim Maguire, Untitled, 1983, charcoal, 178.5 x 127.0cm

    Tim Maguire, Intimate Dialogue II, 1983, charcoal, 178.2 x 126.8cm


    Gow Langsford Gallery

    DOUBLE TAKE
    9 - 23 December 2009
    One is the loneliest number

    A group show in December that features the multiple is hardly an unfamiliar concept.  Less familiar however, is when the multiple nature of the multiple is highlighted, manipulated, and embraced.  In their doubling, multiplicity and visual play, the works in Double Take become unfamiliar, even uncanny.  Featuring a number of local and international artists from the gallery stable, the exhibition will include editions and series, works that explore the use of doppelganger, and pieces that invite a literal double take from the viewer in their play with the optical field.  

    For many of the artists in the exhibition, doubling and multiplicity is a key component of their practice.  Artist Gregor Kregar embraces the use of the multiple within much of his practice, using it to transform his everyday subjects into something other.  In his work in Double Take, around seventy ceramic pigs are arranged by color on the floor of the gallery.  While one work is easily recognizable as an innocuous everyday object one imbued with the nostalgia of childhood memories, as a collective and a crowd, the pigs exude an entirely different sort of power.

    Likewise, Cuban-born photographer Anthony Goicolea is well-known for his employment of the double, or rather, the doubling and replication of his own image, in his photography.  This repetition of the self, the visualisation of a doppelganger, is uncanny, and introduces an eerie note to the works.  Not only visually unexpected, catching a glimpse of one's own doppelganger also portends bad luck, danger, even death.

    In a much more playful way, local artists such as Sara Hughes, James Cousins and David McCracken also interrogate the visual field.  Sara Hughes explores the optics of colour and works such as Bubble and Burst seemingly shimmer under our gaze as concentric circles of colour play tricks with the eye.  James Cousins uses imagery of the natural world as his source material, but such images are then weaved into and around a fractured optical field.  David McCracken meanwhile, plays with the illusionistic, defying traditional associations of materials such as stainless steel.

    Link

    Queensland Art Gallery  | Gallery of Modern Art 

    Contemporary Australia: Optimism
    2008


    Encompassing many facets of contemporary Australian visual art and culture, the exhibition includes painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, installation, video and video installation, cinema, animation, performance, music and comedy. 

    The exhibition presents work by more than 60 emerging, mid-career, and senior Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists from every state and territory, including Lisa Adams (QLD), Vernon Ah Kee (QLD), Tom Alberts (VIC), Tony Albert (QLD), Del Kathryn Barton (NSW), Chris Bennie (QLD), Daniel Boyd (NSW), Matthew Bradley (SA), Stephen Bush (VIC), Sean Cordeiro & Claire Healy (NSW/Berlin), Aleks Danko (VIC), Christian de Vietri (WA/New York), Rolf de Heer (SA), Gabrielle de Vietri (VIC), James Dodd (SA), Emily Floyd (VIC), Juan Ford (VIC), Julie Fragar (QLD), Dale Frank (NSW), Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori (QLD), Mark Galea (VIC), Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont (WA), Kristin Headlam (VIC), Petrina Hicks (NSW), Timothy Horn, (VIC/New Mexico), Jamin (TAS), Natasha Johns-Messenger (VIC/New York), Christine Dew, Dave Jones & Students of Macleay Island State School, (QLD & VIC), Kayili Artists (Nola Campbell, Pulpurru Davies, Mary Gibson, Jackie Kurltjunyintja Giles, Ngipi Ward) (WA), Clara Law (VIC), Sam Leach (VIC), Michael Leunig (VIC), m3architecture (QLD), Robert MacPherson (QLD), Michael McWilliams (TAS), Tim Maguire (NSW/London), Thomas Meadowcroft (QLD/Berlin), Tom MooreJan Nelson (VIC), George Nona (QLD), Raquel Ormella (ACT), Robert Owen (VIC), Debra Phillips (NSW), Patricia Piccinini (VIC), Anna Platten (SA), Scott Redford (QLD), Victoria Reichelt (QLD), Tony Schwensen (NSW/Boston), Ritchey Sealy (NSW), Ivan Sen (NSW), Gemma Smith (QLD), Darren Sylvester (VIC), Regan Tamanui (VIC), Kathy Temin (VIC), Arlene TextaQueen (VIC), Jane Turner (VIC), Nawarupu Wunungmurra (NT), Michael Zavros (QLD). (SA), Arlo Mountford (VIC), Kate Murphy (NSW),

    ‘Contemporary Australia: Optimism’ celebrates the ways contemporary artists envision the world, exploring it with hope, energy, passion, playfulness and, above all, with the commitment to questioning and invention that comes out of the artist’s studio.


    Bendigo Art Gallery

    STRANGE CARGO: CONTEMPORARY ART AS A STATE OF ENCOUNTER 
    A Newcastle Region Art Gallery touring exhibition 
    31 March - 13 May 2007     

    In recent years Bendigo Art Gallery and Newcastle Region Art Gallery have established themselves as active collectors of Australian contemporary art. In the past ten years, Bendigo Art Gallery has acquired over 1,000 works; in the past five years Newcastle has collected over 1,500. This exhibition showcases over 30 of these pieces including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, installation and video. While the works resist a single curatorial categorisation, their inclusion, alongside Bendigo Art Gallery’s permanent display of contemporary art, may reveal the many stories associated with recent developments in Australian contemporary art practice.

    Leading Australian artists represented in the exhibition include James Angus, Hany Armanious, Peter Atkins, Lionel Bawden, Mikala Dwyer, Dale Frank, Fiona Hall, Bill Henson, Rosemary Laing, Tim Maguire, Tracey Moffatt, Ken O’Regan, Fiona Hall, Patricia Piccinini and Hossein Valamanesh.

    This exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government Program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of cultural material across Australia.

    McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park
    So You Wanna Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star: Australian painting from the NGV Shell Collection 
    March – 1 May 2005  

    Purchased by Shell Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the collection focuses on the work of young Australian artists including: Jon Campbell, Mandy Martin, Stephen Bush, Dale Frank, Philip Hunter, Jan Nelson, Lin Onus, Liz Coates, Stewart Macfarlane, Tim Maguire, Hilarie Mais and Jenny Watson. All of these painters have gone on to have significant careers both within Australia and internationally.  So you wanna be a rock’n’roll star offers a revealing and entertaining glimpse into the artistic and cultural influences that shaped Australian art at the end of the 20th Century. The twenty-one large scale works in the exhibition are, all important and exciting, examples of Australian painting from the period and should not be missed.
    Link



    SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS INCLUDE:

    2009 

    Double Take, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
    Summer Exhibition, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
    Heidi Comes to Town – works from the Heidi Museum Collection, Australian
    Club, Melbourne


    SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS INCLUDE:

    2009 Double Take, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
    Summer Exhibition, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
    Heidi Comes to Town – works from the Heidi Museum Collection, Australian
    Club, Melbourne
    Shanghai University Public Arts Project & linked Group Exhibition, Shanghai
    University Gallery, Shanghai
    Botanica, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
    Optimism, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
    In voller Blüte, Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden-Rot

    2008

    Clock the Ton, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
    Optimism, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
    Autumn Collectors Exhibition, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
    Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich at Korea International Art Fair, Seoul
    In voller Blüte, Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden-Rot

    2007

    Strange Cargo: Contemporary Art as a State of Encounter, Bendigo Art
    Gallery, Bendigo
    Snap Freeze: Still Life Now, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria
    Blue Chip IX The Collectors’ Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Richmond, Victoria

    2006

    Place Made, Prints from the Australian Print Workshop, National Gallery of
    Australia, travelling to Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria
    Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney at Melbourne Art Fair
    Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne at Melbourne Art Fair

    2005

    L’Atelier Franck Bordas, Grandes Galeries de l’Aitre Saint-Marlou, Rouen
    Studio Franck Bordas, Paris
    Blumenstück – Künstlers Glück. Vom Paradiesgärtlein zur Prilblume, Museum
    Morsbroich, Leverkusen
    Atelier Bordas – Galerie Stepánská 35 + Museum Kampa, Prague
    So You Wanna Be A Rock n’ Roll Star: Australian Painting from the NGV Shell
    Collection, McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria
    Hothouse: The Flower in Contemporary Art, Monash University Museum of Art
    Touring Exhibition (Victoria), State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; Geelong Art
    Gallery; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery; McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park,
    Langwarrin; Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale
    Tableau, BBK, Munich, Germany
    Home Sweet Home: Works from the Peter Fay collection, National Gallery of
    Australia, Canberra

    2002

    It's a Beautiful Day, The Ian Potter Gallery, The University of Melbourne
    Tolarno Galleries at ARCO, Madrid
    Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
    Botanica, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
    Australian Identities in Print Making: The Australian Print Collection of Wagga
    2000 Manifesto I, The Blue Gallery, London
    Sensational Painting, Tolarno Galleries at Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth
    Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich at Art Cologne
    Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne
    Tolarno Galleries: The Moore’s Building, Perth Festival, Fremantle, Western
    Australia

    1998

    Sets and Series, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
    Blondes, Gaha, Maguire, Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam
    La Peinture, Positionen zeitgenossischer Malerei, Mitchell Madison Group,
    Munich

    1997

    Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Amsterdam KunstRAI
    Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Australian Art, National Gallery of
    Victoria, Melbourne
    Mori Gallery, Sydney
    Angelus Novus – The Until It’s All Carried Away in Turmoil Peepshow, Galerie
    Sanguine, Paris
    Visy Board Art Prize, The Orangery, Richmond Grove Winery, Tanunda,
    South Australia
    Film Still, Still Life, Le Case d’Arte, Milan
    Hidden Treasures, Art in Corporate Collections, S.H. Ervin Gallery, National
    Trust Centre, Sydney
    Floressence, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New
    South Wales, Sydney
    Spirit & Place: Art in Australia 1861–1996, Museum of Contemporary Art,
    Sydney
    Contemporary Art Society Invitational Exhibition, London Art Fair
    Blumenstücke Kunststücke, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld

    1994

    The John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize Exhibition, National Gallery of
    Victoria, Melbourne

    1993

    Prospect 93, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt
    Approaches to the Sublime, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts,
    University of New South Wales, Sydney; Ipswich Regional Gallery,
    Queensland
    In Between, in conjunction with Adem Yilmaz & Jarg Geismar, Venice
    Biennale
    Moët & Chandon Touring Exhibition, Australian State galleries
    Translating Bunker to Bunker, Tin Sheds Gallery, The University of Sydney,
    Sydney

    1992 T

    he Story so Far, Waverley City Gallery, Melbourne
    The Temple of Flora, Waverley City Gallery, Melbourne; Elizabeth Bay House,
    Sydney and Australian regional galleries
    Blast, Mori Gallery, Sydney
    The Sir John Sulman Prize exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales,
    Sydney
    Contemporary Australian Painting, Westpac Gallery, Melbourne

    1991

    The Flower Show, Flaxman Gallery, London
    Contemporary Australian Art, Deutscher Brunswick Street, Melbourne
    Moët & Chandon Touring Exhibition, Australian State galleries
    1990 1990 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia,
    Adelaide
    L’Eté Australien à Montpellier, Musée Fabre and Galerie Saint-Ravy,
    Montpellier
    Skies, Galleria Cristina Busi, Chiavari
    Architecture of Light, Mori Gallery, Sydney
    Paperworks, Flaxman Gallery, London
    The Melbourne Savage Club Invitational Drawing Prize, R.M.I.T. Gallery,
    Melbourne
    One Hundred Artists Against Animal Experimentation, Deutscher Brunswick
    Street, Melbourne
    Homage to the Square 2, Flaxman Gallery, London

    1989

    Art and Nature, Flaxman Gallery, London
    En Serie, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton
    Irony, Humour and Dissent, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney; Monash
    University Gallery, Melbourne
    Australian Perspecta 1989, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

    1988

    Drawings in Australia: Drawings, Watercolours and Pastels from the 1770s to
    the 1980s, Australian National Gallery, Canberra
    Homage to the Square, Flaxman Gallery, London
    The Face of Australia: the Land and the People, the Past and the Present,
    Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
    A New Generation 1983–1988: The Philip Morris Arts Grant, Australian
    National Gallery, Canberra
    Contemporary Prints, Pomeroy Purdy Gallery, London

    1987

    A New Romance, Australian National Gallery at the Australian National
    University, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
    Urban Anxieties: Australian Drawings of the 1980s, Australian National Gallery
    at the Australian National University, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
    Stories of Australian Art, Commonwealth Institute, London; Usher Gallery,
    Lincoln
    Young Australians – The Budget Collection, National Gallery of Victoria,
    Melbourne
    Future Directions: Four Artists, Flaxman Gallery, London
    Voyage of Discovery: Contemporary Australian Art, Crescent Gallery, Houston
    Big Drawings, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra
    Mori Gallery at United Artists, United Artists, Melbourne
    Backlash: The Australian Drawing Revival 1976–1986, National Gallery of
    Victoria, Melbourne

    1986

    Symbolism and Landscape, Biennale of Sydney Satellite Exhibition, Ivan
    Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales,
    Sydney
    The Hand and the Photograph, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney
    Monumental Drawings, Contemporary Art Society, Adelaide
    A Certain Likeness, Artspace, Sydney
    Oz Drawing Now, Holdsworth Contemporary Galleries, Sydney
    Recent Acquisitions of Australian Contemporary Art, Australian National
    Gallery, Canberra
    Ballarat Invitation Exhibition, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria


    1985 


    Third International Drawing Triennale, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg;
    Neuen Galerie der Stadt, Linz
    The Most Beautiful Show in the World, Mori Gallery, Sydney
    Dad and Dave Come to Town: 3 Australians in Düsseldorf, Neben der
    Sicherheit, Cologne
    True to Life (performance), Tropeninstitute, Düsseldorf

    1984

    Last Supper at Eurunderee (installation), Streetspace, Mark Foys Building,
    Sydney
    Last Past the Post-ism, Art Unit, Sydney

    1983

    Attitudes to drawing, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University
    of New South Wales, Sydney; Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers
    Bequest, New South Wales
    Bunker to Bunker: Six Artists from Betaville, Art Unit, Sydney


    AWARDS
     
    1981 The Rural Bank Painting Prize
    1984 Peter Brown Memorial Scholarship, Australia Council
    1985 Jury Prize, Third International Drawing Triennale, Nuremberg
    1986 Hugh Williamson Award (Best Male Emerging Artist), Ballarat, Victoria
    1989 Dobell Prize for Drawing, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
    1993 Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship



    PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COLLECTIONS

     
    National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
    Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
    Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
    Parliament House Collection, Canberra
    Philip Morris Arts Grant Collection, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
    Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg
    Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
    Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria
    Derwent Collection, Tasmania
    Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria
    McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria
    Orange Regional Gallery, New South Wales
    Tamar Collection, Tasmania
    Academisch Ziekenhuis, Leiden
    Deakin University, Melbourne
    Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne
    Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
    University of Launceston, Tasmania
    The University of Melbourne, Melbourne
    The University of Sydney
    Darwin College of Advanced Education, Darwin
    Griffith Artworks, Brisbane
    Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney, London and New York
    Artbank, Australia
    AMP Insurance, Sydney
    BP Collection, Australia
    Conalco, UK
    Deutsche Bank, London
    Federal Airports Corporation, Australia
    IBM, Australia
    JMH Bank, Frankfurt
    Macquarie Bank, Sydney
    News Limited, Australia
    OTC, Australia
    Potter Warburg, Sydney
    Qantas Collection, Sydney
    Royal Automobile Club of Victoria
    St Thomas’ Hospital, London
    Shell, Australia
    Siemens AG SFS, Munich
    Siemens, Frankfurt
    Target Partners, Munich
    Telstra, Australia
    Wesfarmers Collection, Perth
    Westpac Bank Collection, New York
    Zurich Insurance, Zurich
    TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria, Australia
    Fidelity Corporate Art Collection, London, UK

    PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COLLECTIONS
     
    National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
    Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
    Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
    Parliament House Collection, Canberra
    Philip Morris Arts Grant Collection, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
    Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg
    Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
    Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria
    Derwent Collection, Tasmania
    Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria
    McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria
    Orange Regional Gallery, New South Wales
    Tamar Collection, Tasmania
    Academisch Ziekenhuis, Leiden
    Deakin University, Melbourne
    Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne
    Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
    University of Launceston, Tasmania
    The University of Melbourne, Melbourne
    The University of Sydney
    Darwin College of Advanced Education, Darwin
    Griffith Artworks, Brisbane
    Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney, London and New York
    Artbank, Australia
    AMP Insurance, Sydney
    BP Collection, Australia
    Conalco, UK
    Deutsche Bank, London
    Federal Airports Corporation, Australia
    IBM, Australia
    JMH Bank, Frankfurt
    Macquarie Bank, Sydney
    News Limited, Australia
    OTC, Australia
    Potter Warburg, Sydney
    Qantas Collection, Sydney
    Royal Automobile Club of Victoria
    St Thomas’ Hospital, London
    Shell, Australia
    Siemens AG SFS, Munich
    Siemens, Frankfurt
    Target Partners, Munich
    Telstra, Australia
    Wesfarmers Collection, Perth
    Westpac Bank Collection, New York
    Zurich Insurance, Zurich
    TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria, Australia

    TIM MAGUIRE | SELECTED ESSAYS


    High Fidelity 
    An essay by Laurent Boudier

    "Tim Maguire High Fidelity Fiercely blazing, openly blooming and baroque, Tim Maguire’s painting is an exultation of seduction and luxuriance. With the flamboyant playfulness of a well-schooled bad boy, the artist – Tim Maguire was born in 1958 in England, grew up in Australia and lives in London – shamelessly elects the blossom of a tulip as both model and paragon.

    The subject means nothing. Tim Maguire is well aware of this and his tulip is no exception. Associating a painter with his subject is a vain task: to consider Cézanne as an eater of (organic) apples, Morandi as collector of (empty) bottles, Domenico Gnoli a tailor of (giant) buttons or Rothko a dauber of (dream-like) colours is clearly an impasse. One can comprehend the interest in choosing a subject hat has been so utterly exhausted: the flower devoid of any further pretensions, merits its rehabilitation as a perfect expression of both difference and indifference.

    Flower or filter, come to that, little matter, and the artist makes no bones about this. In his Notting Hill studio, alongside canvases currently underway, is a computer filled with generic images, trees, repertoires of roots, skies, chromatic effects. From this phototheque of « stock-species » -as scientists would say - Tim Maguire undertakes a meticulous, and at first view less than exciting operation that consists, according to a well-known principle, of separating up the inherent tones of cyan, magenta and yellow. The CMY is, as we know, a systemic visual analysis that has, from Seurat to Warhol, and from Chevreul to Walter Benjamin, lent nourishment to a profusion of work(s) of art in the era of its technical reproductability.

    On the blank canvas, using pigments that are strongly diluted in white spirit, Tim Maguire lays out an initial background of yellow, followed by cyan and then magenta. This processing of tones and values is repeated a number of times, the painting taking shape via coloured waves, gorging itself with layers as thin as pigmented molecules, and gaining definition through an accumulative vaporization. It is a sophisticated creative process, reminiscent of the pictorial tradition of glazing as inaugurated by Van Eyck on a few sparse lime-wood panels, or more recently, of a newspaper photograph- opened by lucky chance at the miscellaneous page - representing a Crash Machine silk-screened onto canvas by Andy Warhol.

    Profitably confusing painting and photography, art and reproduction, or again the play of appearance and effacement to the point of abstraction, that is to say characteristic elements of post-modernism, Tim Maguire’s painting flirts with the palimpsest to a vertiginous degree. It is no doubt this very « ad vertigo » that retains our gaze: glazed flowers, delicately colored membranes, thin-lipped floral cups spread across the whole surface of the canvas. We are, one must admit, a long way from the usual subjects of contemporary art and its penchant for putting childhood, the grotesque, the human-body, derision or again the dissolution of shapes at the heart of its concerns. Countercurrent, these spring-like flowerings and snowy grains flash-lit in the night, are offered up with a luxuriance of detail and an infinity of graduations.

    Far from any naturalistic illusions, this apprehension of the object imposes its artifices via the sugary poison of its very substance. These are images that are perfectly intellectual and sensual, at once aesthetically disturbing and clearly arrested in time. They are vanities, certainly, but in which the elements of prior times, the candle, skull, tempting food-stuffs or velvety fruits, have disappeared to the advantage of an over-fill of colour, an effacement of volume almost to the point of an optical malaise. Tim Maguire’s painting assumes the very essence of a century that has transformed nausea into an alternative form of neurotic wisdom, be it with no little ambivalence. Its insistence on the documentary renders it almost iconic. It flirts with decorative enthusiasm to the point of degenerescence. Even at the very moment of its designation, barely yet revealed, it surrenders up its soul. All seems to dissolve and dilate, selfdestructing in the very light of day. We are, one might say, not far from murder, a discreet destruction of the Cezannian motif, committed with the very arms of painting itself : silently, via an intoxication of colours, an overload of effects and optical density.

    Ultra-sensitive, Tim Maguire’s paintings, with their heightened sense of abundance, bear no seeds of any future degenerescence nor of a lessening of the pictorial flame. On the contrary, time here seems perfectly accorded to a fullness, even if we well know that on the other side of the lookingglass, according to the natural cycle of things, time heralds the lessening of days, the dissipation of the vital sap.

    One might hazard an explanation: Tim Maguire’s painting is one of high fidelity that attains an absolute apotheosis while implying the very impossibility of contentment. Herein lies the ambiguity of the very subject, which is not perhaps a flower after all, nor a landscape, but the exposure of a painted rendering of a fragile Eden on the verge of demise.

    At the heart of these Memento mori, it is our eye that retains the souvenir of a small bouquet of perfumed petals one day in a friendly garden and makes the link with the shimmering painting before us. Painting, then, as the duplication of sensation and memory ? And painting as an illumination of the metaphor?

    Tim Maguire’s paintings marvelously uphold the complicity of nature, form and illusions. Therein lies one constant virtue of his art: it is an ever-renewed treason, silent and limpid"


    Laurent Boudier, June-September 2008 Translated from the French by Erin Lawlor. J’utilise la version gratuite de SPAMfighter pour utilisateurs privés. 

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    ............................................................ 

    Mixing Numbers Tim Maguire in conversation with Jonathan Watkins   

    JW
    What is it that appeals to you, as someone who has been identified so much with painting as an artistic medium, about digital technology?   

    TM
    For a long time now, painting and printmaking have played off each other in my work. Frustrations in one area are often solved through investigations in the other ... Printmaking - drawing from experience of the processes involved in printmaking - for example, often helps me think again about how I might make a painting, and vice versa. The process has always been attractive to me because there is a wonderful unpredictability about the result. One works in a precise way but the results are often surprising. Imagery is created outside one’s expectations.   

    For some time I’d been making lithographs and monotypes with Franck Bordas, [a master printer] in Paris. After some initial successes, I had begun to feel frustrated by these traditional forms of printmaking, wanting more control, more precision. The range of tones and the subtleties of colour that arose out of the colour separation process I’d adopted in my painting were often lost when I tried to adapt them to lithography. There was too much slippage through the transference of the drawn image to a plate and then onto paper.   


    One solution was to take that “drawn image” (actually painted-on film) and transfer it onto a virtual “plate” – within a computer – by digital scanning. The image can then be printed digitally. Such reproduction is much more exact than that of an image transferred onto an actual plate, then inked up. Well, that was the initial impulse. When I first started working with Franck, his studio was almost entirely set up for lithography. I’d only recently moved to Paris, and the whole set-up was very attractive, massive old presses, rows of litho stones, a glass-roofed 18th century atelier surrounded by cabinet makers and the like… Franck had only just purchased a digital printer with the hope of using this new technology in his collaborations with artists. I was in one corner of the room, ink all over my hands, feeling frustrated, Franck in another with ink all over his hands, looking for a way beyond lithography …   


    JW
    It was a nice synchronicity, with Franck in the process of incorporating digital technology into his business, and you looking for different, new ways to manifest an artistic proposition.   

    TM
    Franck works with a lot with artists, often painters, and had done for many years. But at that stage there were few collaborations that involved digital technology. The digital printer was mainly used by photographers dropping in to print this or that file, perhaps retouching the corner of a photo and so on. Obviously this new technology was ideal for creating very truthful facsimiles – the challenge was to find a way to break into this seemingly perfectly sealed system, to use the technology to create images from within, that could not have existed in any other media.   

    JW
    How was it, making that switch from analogue to digital?   

    TM
    When we started with digital printing I quickly realised that we could generate pure colours that we could never get through other means. My principle of colour separation, which I use in both my painting and printmaking, comes from commercial printmaking, where illusions of colours are created by little dots of pure colour being printed side by side, and that’s something I played around with in early lithographs. To simulate that marriage of colour in lithography, as with painting, I was forced to put layers of transparent colour one on top of the other, but you don’t get the same result. The pigments have their own idiosyncrasies and the colours can cancel each other out. However, with digital technology essentially you’re mixing numbers, and the image is printed out with millions of juxtaposed dots of colour … the marriage of colours happens in the computer. So there’s no top or bottom, first or last, as there is with paint or (lithographic) ink, where the last layer always dominates while the first is suppressed.   

    The colours we can now achieve are almost fluorescent, much closer to the intensity of digital photography and to what I see on screen and that is very attractive to me. The random aspect which appealed is still there, because each print is made up of three separately painted films, each with a different primary colour, and I don’t really know how these colours will combine until they’ve all been painted, scanned and transferred to a computer. By which point any errors are built in and have to be accommodated somehow.   


    JW
    Previously in your paintings and prints you’d resorted to a technique which involved the flicking of solvent onto layers of wet paint, removing paint to reveal dots of colour which were then optically resolved in a kind of pontillism. In fact, we see it here in Poppies.   

    TM
    Because of the purity of colour obtainable digitally, that pointillism is so much more effective in the digital prints. Poppies is one of the last works whereby secondary colours are generated by one of the three layered colours being taken out by the solvent.   

    JW
    On the other hand, there’s something in the medium, the technique that involves the removal of colour by solvent, which is part of the message. It tends to degrade the image that you’d conjured up, as if you’d eaten into it. And then you had pushed and pulled it around through the wet paint that you needed in order to remove the dots of colour. There were ideas of corruption and decay that were very consistent with your preoccupation with still life. With the use of digital technology that part of your message recedes into the background. And, of course, we don’t so much see traces of you moving around the image, with physical, manual gestures …   

    TM
    Well, the gestures are still present, but are more discreet – lines from the dragging of the brush, that can almost be misread as enlarged scratches in a negative; thumbprints…But you raise an interesting point, in the light of another major difference that digital printing makes. It’s a question not just of enhanced colour, but also of the scale of the image. You’re no longer tied to a ratio of 1:1. A drawing that goes onto a lithographic plate has to be printed out the same size – it’s a very direct transference of gesture to final product. A painting always remains on the scale that you made it! But with digital printing, depending of the degree of resolution in the scan, you can blow it up to any size you like. Though I restrict myself - my basic rule of thumb is 1:4, twice as high, twice as wide.   

    JW
    Why not more magnification?   

    TM
    I’ve resisted because I felt that I would lose the plausibility of the gesture. At 1:4, the gestural aspects are present, in fact enhanced; though there is a certain disembodiment of gesture through their reproduction, still I feel there is a direct link to my hand, my arm. To magnify more I feel would be too contrived.   

    JW
    This applies obviously to the drawings or paintings that you’re working from, and not the subject matter. The poppies in Poppies are wonderfully big. And these flowers are immediately recognisable motifs, with close correspondence to your still life paintings. There’s an interesting narrative in this exhibition as we move from Poppies to the prints depicting snow and water.    TM I started making images of snow because I wanted to apply my technique of colour separation to a subject that was essentially black-and-white.   

    JW
    I remember when I saw your paintings of snow for the first time, they reminded me of a Monet exhibition I’d just seen which included a lot of winter scenes. How exciting it was, and what nice perversity. Here was an impressionist, so concerned with colour theory, going out and painting white landscapes.   

    TM
    Ostensibly white landscapes – but actually full of colour. His sketchbooks from Norway are full of colour notes and references, of snowy mountains in pinks and greens. I liked the idea that colour was going to be introduced into my digital prints of snow inevitably because of my inexactitude. They would be interesting because of the way I put colour down. The theory is that equal quantities of yellow, magenta and cyan give you black at 100% intensity. At lesser intensity you get grey. The colours cancel each other out. It’s easy to get 100% of each colour, and equally, it’s easy to get 100% of no colour at all, which is white … but anything in between becomes a question of fairly subjective judgement. For example, what is 40% of any particular colour?   

    JW
    The snow prints, at first glance, are incredibly abstract. With a bit of time and/or encouragement it begins to dawn on us that we are looking at snow flakes falling through a night sky.   

    TM
    Yes. The sky is black, the pale snowflakes float across that darkness like a screen. The image is very frontal and the space invoked is a very Modernist one.   

    With the colour separation paintings, I’d introduced randomness through the flicking of solvent, through the unexpected way in which the drops of solvent might land. With the snow prints it’s inherent in the images. Snow flakes fall in patterns that are so [wonderfully] undesigned, and so I could be quite precise, and representational in the way I drew them up and painted them.   


    JW
    That whole question of verisimilitude goes out the window because of the starkness of the snow images - and it’s not as if there’s anyone wanting to check! Are they based on photographs that you took?   

    TM
    All the snow prints in this exhibition are composites of images I’ve found on the web, all found images, very low res. And I’ve overlaid a number of different shots taken in different places to get more snowflakes, the density and size of snowflakes that I wanted.   

    JW
    Why not just invent them?   

    TM
    If I didn’t start from photographs I think I would be too self-conscious. In the end the process of working from these photos was quite methodical, even mechanical. The snowflakes are white and grey against the dark sky. It’s simply a matter of painting sheets of film black, one for each primary colour and then wiping out areas to create the whites or greys of the snowflakes.   

    JW
    As with your earlier still lifes, you’re working with readymade images …   

    TM
    … so that I don’t have to invest too much aesthetic consideration into the composition.   

    JW
    Interestingly, you’re still applying paint, if only to remove it later.    TM Yes, it is a question of paint being deducted, rather than added.   

    JW
    How does the colour get in?   

    TM
    It’s the mismatch of percentages really, and the inaccuracies of registration. Remember that for each print I’m working on three separate films, one for each primary colour. These colours if evenly matched cancel each other out to create blacks, or in lesser but equal quantities, greys. So, a mechanical “colour separation “of these essentially monochrome photos reveals lots of saturated colour. But try as I might, I’m not so precise. The edges of any individual snowflake won’t align exactly from one film to the next, so each white flake will have a little halo, a rainbow of colour surrounding it. Then, for those snowflakes which are dimmer, greyer, if I’m not achieving equal quantities of cyan, yellow and magenta, instead of grey I’m going to get some sort of mixed colour. Depending on the percentages – say 60% cyan, 30% yellow, 40% magenta - I’ll get a snowflake that’s quite green, another that’s blue. Also, on different films the snowflake shapes might turn out to be a little bigger or smaller and this is something that is imperceptible until you’ve made all the scans and put them together. Each sheet of film gets treated slightly differently, and that’s how the colour arrives in the final print. These inaccuracies are like a prism, revealing the inherent colour.   

    JW
    Despite the abstraction of the snow prints, they touch on a theme of ephemerality that pervades your work overall. Snow is a very fragile thing. Likewise, a poppy is one of the most fragile flowers. And then there’s the ephemerality of the image, caught on the virtual plate of a computer. The fact that the colour that you’re mixing isn’t substantial, but just a bunch of numbers … again it’s not surprising that this digital medium appeals to you.   

    TM
    There’s another connection between the poppies and the falling snow. Poppies are fantastically translucent, vehicles for light. That’s why I was so interested … the way the light fell on them and shone through them. The petals are skins of light. Snowflakes are similar, the way they catch the light and glint.    Translucency belies the physicality of the subject. It’s not like some cogent threedimensional form that has light, dark, shadow and mass. A translucent object is flattened when the light shines through it, so that it becomes more abstract. The colour glows in the photos of the poppies and you get very little sense of perspective. Likewise, the images of falling snowflakes tend to be quite flat.   

    JW
    Water, the subject we confront on entering this exhibition, is so translucent it’s transparent. And, like the falling snow, it’s completely unfixed, moving all the time.   

    TM
    The prints of water here arise out of my experiments with the snow imagery. As you point out, my treatment of falling snow was not so “painterly” – it had less of me in it. The act of making these images was not as important to me as the actual phenomena of colour. I then began thinking about photographs and videos of falling snow, with the idea that colour is generated by mismatches of little points of brightness. It occurred to me that the colour could also be unlocked if you had three sections of footage of snow falling, each one a different pure colour, digitally superimposed. You would then get all sorts of colours randomly generated - yellow, for example, where a red snowflake and a green snowflake crossed over …   

    If there was a lot of snow this would happen quite a lot, but it wouldn’t last very long. You’d only get a little flash of colour every now and then. I was thinking about making a video, but it was summer in the northern hemisphere, and it wasn’t easy for me to get to wherever it was snowing. I was thinking, well, what else would move in a random way that has tonal contrast between whites and black that would generate that range and intensity of colour? Rippling water was the answer, especially if the water was quite dark, so that patterns of light would be reflected and broken up, and they could then be overlaid to get the effect I wanted. Patterns of light in water are more subtle than in snow. Snowflakes are very binary, either black or white … There are greys but overall the events are more concrete, either black or a defined tone, whereas with water you get passages from light to dark. With scans of each primary colour, overlaid you get a much greater potential range of colour and tone.   


    Initially I took some photos and combined them, digitally, as if they were stills from a video, to get an idea of the effect. I figured if this resulted in an interesting still image it would work as a video. Using a fixed camera with a motor drive I took a series of photographs, just reflections on water … They capture moments half a second apart but even in such a short time the reflections shift significantly within the frame. But the event fundamentally stays the same. That is to say, there are formal qualities which are preserved from a particular location in certain conditions that distinguish it completely from the results of an identical procedure undertaken five minutes later or in another place close by. In different circumstances water moves in different ways, resulting in very particular types of reflection. There is randomness, but within set parameters.   


    JW
    Due to water obeying all kinds of natural laws …   

    TM
    Speaking of which, the series of water prints here, based on combinations of photographic stills, is entitled Refractions, because of the way light shines through water, with an irresistible prismatic effect.   

    JW
    Sometimes it looks psychedelic, like a kind of Paisley marbling …   

    TM
    … or it can be a soft opalescent mother-of-pearl.   

    JW
    Are the images completely untouched by you? Is there any kind of manipulation, digital or otherwise?   

    TM
    I try to keep any manipulation to the barest minimum. Essentially I just put the three colours together. The process of getting the final print is fairly simple, converting each of three photos – related but not the same - into a different colour, then combining them in order to reveal an extraordinary range of colour through the computer. I might just play with the levels of intensity in Photoshop, to balance the tonal ranges between the different colours … That’s all. Otherwise it’s a very hands-off process. Aesthetically speaking, it either works or it doesn’t.   

    JW
    If it doesn’t work, it’s not as if you’ve wasted a canvas …   

    TM
    Very economical! And I’ve always preferred a fast result over something laborious.   

    JW
    With Poppies, there’s a flatness courtesy of the subject mater, and there’s the apparent abstraction of the snow, and then webs of pure colour in the Refractions series … There is a tension here between representation and abstraction which is very characteristic of your work overall, from the beginning. Obviously, it reminds me of Canal, your series of five large paintings that we exhibited together at Chisenhale (London 1991). Your representation of water in those paintings then was key to an understanding of your artistic position vis-à-vis modernism.   

    TM
    It was a very deliberate reference to the essential flatness, the abstraction of modernism, but at the same time rendering it in a very illusionistic, three-dimensional way.   

    JW
    This new work depicting water, arguably, is more easy-going. Canal was more overtly meaningful, invoking major modernist figures such as Barnet Newman and Josef Albers.   

    TM
    Yes, the Canal paintings were very much about painting. The Refractions series doesn’t have that kind of self-reference. It’s very unfixed as an work of art. We know the prints are made from photos, but they don’t look particularly photographic. They look quite painterly, possibly the result of brushstrokes, but they come straight out of the camera. I like their ambiguity, their quickness and the fact that their imagery is impossible to preconceive. I like the way that they are so apart from me.