Though Tim Maguire was born in England in 1958, his family moved to Australia in 1959 where he resided until 1992. Maguire is regarded as one of Australia’s country’s most significant artists. The artist’s current practice involves the painterly reconstruction of digital imagery through a process that refers to printing technology. His large-scale paintings mimic the appearance of smooth, mechanical reproduction but their surfaces are disrupted by random elements of physicality; drips, runs and blotches interrupt their reading as purely printed images.
Archibald Prize 2014 Finalists - Cate Blanchett by Tim Maguire
Tim Maguire’s portrait of actor Cate Blanchett is the result of a number of sittings. Photography is an integral part of Maguire’s painting process. He takes a photo, adjusts it digitally and then, using scans of the adjusted image in each of the three primary printing colours – yellow, magenta and cyan – he builds up the image in transparent layers of paint based on these ‘colour separations’. After painting each layer, he sprays the work with a diluted solvent, which creates random mixes of colour.
‘Capturing the right photo of Cate was tricky,’ he says. ‘I wanted something un-posed and natural, as if she were unaware of the camera. I took numerous photographs, before finding the right one. The subsequent challenge was to find a way to build up the layers of paint without losing the wonderful luminosity of her complexion.
‘The left panel is made of very thin painted layers of yellow and magenta. By leaving out the cyan I was better able to preserve the white of the canvas, and thus the lightness and transparency that I was seeking. In the right panel, the addition of cyan completes the spectrum, adding density and richness.’
Australian born, French based artist Tim Maguire’s recent work at Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne, presents various collisions of context. The backlit “paintings” are digital prints showing the inherent surface expressivity of oil stained water (ultimately referential of oil paint and water based acrylic paint). All sorts of automatic, gestural, and painted image types together in limited states. But in the end they are like paintings as much as they are like commercial advertising at a bus stop. Lightboxes like these are the material and the language of today’s urban environments - but the methods of advertising are here taken down to the poetics of respite, sometimes important to painting - ie. unlike advertising, there is no icon or text, and therefore no exact message to be planted, but many associations to be made in it’s absence. It’s been a long time now where one or the other join forces. Advertisements with no branding, no text, just recognition through color or subject, and in order to be at least materially comprehended: art that speaks in the language of merchandise.
by Ry David Bradley
Maguire uses digital photographs as source material for his oil paintings. He applies color separation techniques not unlike those used in commercial printing. The distinction between the digital and the handcrafted is blurred. “Maguire’s surfaces hold these competing formalisms - of the Modernist canvas and the digital print - in close proximity…”