There is a sharp sense of place and of ‘being there’ in the paintings of The Lost Path.
In the wonderful Ormond Road the garden not only encircles but also towers over. Afternoon light falls along the path, but the compositional elements in the painting are such that the viewer comes to realise she is looking upon this while standing in shadow.
Maughan’s ability to combine naturalism with notions of order is complemented by the rhythmic presence of the artist’s hand. His brush strokes have a calligraphic flourish, surfaces are abstracted, colour hovers in darker space. Viewed close the works traverse the technical virtuosity of realism to the tactile surfaces and pleasures of expressionism.
In Skye Farm and Harrisons Line the expressions of bright light and high key colour takes us on a journey. We are going somewhere into a pre-ordained world and Maughan implies much by using shadow and scale to tell a story of distance, depth and time of day. Viewed from distance, these significantly inter-related works seem composed of the actual bushes and flowers themselves and this sensation is augmented by their figurative shaping. But Maughan is not ever trying to tell the full story – he is paraphrasing, and suggesting, and thus has the courage to understate and let the expressive qualities of light and colour unite in the viewer’s mind.
The abrupt (and fundamental) role of shadow in his work could easily be overlooked. In the beautiful, sculptural, Riverena Maughan introduces a different line of sight to his work – modelled bare limbs both hide and present a view of what is beyond from a lowered position. Conduit Line also uses shadow as a key device, framing the work left and right.