These carefully manipulated photographic prints by Australian artist Tim Maguire capture the simple beauty of one of his favourite subjects.
Tim Maguire first came to national prominence in the early 1980s with confident landscape paintings that reassessed canonical Australian outback scenes. His interest in landscape has since been inflected by his long residence in Europe, but much of his work still revolves around the metaphorical powers of landscape, whether Australian deserts or urban European scenes, as in these oversized prints.
Maguire describes Trees and snow as:
. . . a fusion of both photographic and handpainted elements. The trees I photographed in East Sussex, and the painted snowflakes, were based on photographs of snow collected from various sources at various times. Hence, the more generic title . . . [but] one could say that the reference to location in the titling of recent works reflects a growing interest in the specificity of place.1
Whether Maguire’s works are based on photographic studies of specific locations or incorporate a more generic visual language, they are always submitted to a rigorous process of selective intensification and re-colouration. He ‘begins with a found photograph that he then puts through a computer program, separating the image into three colour components: Cyan, magenta and yellow . . . the photographic image is pulled apart, “handled” and put back together again’.2 Using advanced digital techniques, and deploying extremely sophisticated printing techniques that permit the production of these very large prints on paper, Maguire then works with a master printer in Paris to refine the visual and emotional effect of the final images.
The prints depict, as the titles suggest, ‘trees and snow’. Or rather, that is where they begin. They have since been dramatically enhanced, glorified by the application of digital techniques that allow Maguire ruminate on the processes of perception and image-making. The ceaseless moment of the falling snow and its beauty both attract and fascinate him.
1 Email from the artist to Julie Ewington, 14 October 2012.
2 See Ruth McDougall, ‘Tim Maguire: An uncertain place’, in Contemporary Australia: Optimism, [exhibition catalogue] Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, p.143.