Karl Maughan takes the garden as his subject matter, deftly capturing the light, colour, texture, and pattern found in nature. Over the last three decades, the artist has developed his own distinct visual language, which has in turn taken on a life of its own, shooting and sprouting in different directions. The garden continues to offer both artist and viewer new opportunities for discovery; whether thrust onto thick undergrowth or invited to wander up a well-cut path, we are left marvelling at the vibrancy and immediacy of these botanical creations.
Maughan has long presented a kind of speculative survey of regionalism through his paintings. In this exhibition of recent works he pays particular attention to the geographical area of Hawkes Bay, with titles including Ashcott, Gwavas, and Ashley Clinton referring to specific gardens and properties, or recalling those long country roads that run alongside farms and paddocks in the region. Maughan’s work prompts us to consider those gardens of early colonial settlers and the romantic but somewhat anachronistic endeavour of establishing traditional English gardens in the Pacific. Yet Maughan’s gardens are pure constructions; fanciful imaginings that see the artist cultivating endemic and introduced species side by side in an abundant and idealised amalgam of eternal spring.
Maughan (b.1964) lives and works in Pōneke Wellington. He has a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. His work is held in significant private and public collections internationally and here in Aotearoa, including Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū; The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson; and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Notable public exhibitions include Saatchi Collection Catalogue Show at Saatchi Gallery, London, (1998), Stop Making Sense, City Gallery, Wellington (1995), Walking in Light at Vertigo Gallery, London (2003), Karl Maughan: A Clear Day at Pataka Art Gallery & Museum, Porirua (2015), and Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare MBE curates the Arts Council Collection, UK (2019).
Opening night: Thursday 8 September, 5pm.