Entitled Colyton and thereby openly acknowledging where he grew up in the Manawatu, this exhibition of new paintings also represents the 30th year of Karl Maughan’s solo exhibitions with Milford Galleries.
Mixing fact and fiction with profoundly immersive sensations, every Maughan painting suggests and implies far more than at first it seems. He uses colour in an exhilarating manner as he constructs botanical ‘scenes’ of places which have been invented through a process of amalgamation (from multiple various locations) but – in doing so – delivers each work with such authority in his/this paraphrased reality that the viewer implicitly believes everything to be real, to be of somewhere known.
Infused with light and texture, the vibrations and metaphorical languages of colour, layered wet-on-wet, and delivered with the rhythmic marking and moving presence of the artist’s hand, all the paintings in Colyton from the largest (Hatuma Road) to the smallest (such as Mahua Road and Nannestad Lane) directly engage with how perception alters with distance. Viewed from afar, Maughan’s paintings are exercises of implied realism but up close they become completely recomposed into the (mark-making) languages of abstraction. This fundamental – and startling – virtuoso dualism at the centre of all Maughan painting is delivered again and again so compellingly that each and every work comes to simultaneously attain two quite different states of being.
Mixing narratives of place and notions of a journey of discovery, important works such as Tukituki and Omakere Stream reveal as much as they hide and deny. Mixing flora and fauna with the architecture of pathways and the garden, Maughan constructs messages of order where the unknown and unseen – just around the corner – adds distinct elements of mystery and menace.