UNTITLED 2000U89, 2000

Important Australian + International Fine Art
20 April 2011


born 1958
UNTITLED 2000U89, 2000

oil on canvas

161.0 x 147.0 cm

inscribed verso with title

$40,000 - 60,000
Sold for $48,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 19 - 20 April 2011, Melbourne

Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich
Private collection, London

Catalogue text

'The goal for a serious painter today is to make work that is simultaneously embedded in the tradition of painting whilst engaging with the contemporary world. This Maguire does.'1

With its sheer beauty and theatrical grandeur, Untitled 2000U89 exemplifies well the sensuous magnified fruit and floral bloom paintings for which Australian contemporary artist Tim Maguire has become internationally renowned. Inspired by Dutch still life painting of the seventeenth century, such works are celebrated not only for their presence of scale and intriguing surreal quality but equally, for their enduring preoccupation with the physical act of painting itself.

Maguire's technique is distinguished by an abiding interest in the dichotomy between production and reproduction, between the painterly and the photographic potential of the canvas surface. Applying onto white canvas layers of transparent glazes which are then stripped back with droplets of solvent, Maguire thus creates an illusion of texture which - rather than preserve the thoughts and gestures of the artist - remains remarkably detached, even self-effacing. Indeed, there is no real sense of brush to canvas, an ambiguity further enhanced by the illusionistic nature and cropping of the image which unmistakably recalls photographic processes.

That the marks of erased paint in the present work bear little relationship to the form of the fruit further substantiates the argument of critics that the subject of Maguire's work is not its figurative content. As one commentator suggests, 'capturing the moment when the magic of the image collapses into the materiality of the brushstroke, the real subject of his paintings is painting itself.'2 Such also accords with the artist's own recollection of his relationship to the source of inspiration: 'the further away I got from the original image, the more scope there was for painterliness and asserting the materiality of the process, which was the whole point of the exercise.'3

1. Godfrey, T., 'Skin, Light and Beauty' in Tim Maguire, Piper Press, Sydney, 2007, p. 28
2. Tim Maguire, ibid. dustjacket
3. Maguire cited in ''What is it 'as it really is'? Tim Maguire in conversation with Jonathan Watkins' in Tim Maguire, ibid., p. 72