Karl Maughan’s Kimbolton marks the artist's return from the United Kingdom to reside in New Zealand. Renowned for his large format paintings of prominent English gardens, Maughan relocates his subject matter to the local gardens of his home country.
Painting on a large scale enables Maughan to capture not only the essence of the ideal impeccably manicured garden but also his superb skill and technique in painting.
“Landscape lends itself to a tribute to both beauty and structure, and Maughan uses these qualities to slip between the gaps of easy categorisation. His stark light and obvious naturalism make him a realist painter, his careful compositions, blocks of colour and appreciation of the plants’ architectural mass are sure hints at abstraction; while the gradual loosening of his brushstrokes, especially at the edges, are as light and urgent as any expressionist.” (1)
Maughan grew up in the Manawatu region, living near Cross Hills. His mother, a landscape designer and gardener, often took him on visits to the gardens in the vicinity of Kimbolton. Maughan’s exhibition is inspired by gardens such as Cross Hills, Heritage Park and Woodland Grange, which were modelled on some of the great English gardens and include an exceptional collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Rhododendron’s play a key role within Maughan’s compositions. Utilizing a rhythmic, gestural brushstroke, he paints the glowing deep purples of Cross Hill and Cross Point, celebratory reds of Hinau and Mangarimu and pale apricot shades of Kiwitea and Rangiwahia providing a contrast to the vast sun dappled green foliage.
Maughan captures the gardens in the heart of spring, encapsulating the bright Southern hemisphere light and vivid hues of the regions flowers and foliage. Here he intermingles New Zealand natives with traditional English species, kowhai flowers flourishing onto a neighbouring rhododendron (Rangiwahia).
1. Nicola Mutch, Over View: Is As - Landscape as Metaphor, A Contemporary Survey, Milford Galleries Dunedin, 2003.