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Marian Maguire


Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1962, Marian Maguire graduated from the Ilam School of Art, University of Canterbury in 1984 and in 1986 studied at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography, Albuquerque, USA. She was awarded an Artist in Residence at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art in 1991, received an Award for Excellence from the Canterbury Community Trust in 1998 and in 2010 was Artist in Residence at Tylee Cottage, Whanganui. In 2018 Marian Maguire was formally adopted by Ngāti Hāua o Ngāruahinerangi, Taranaki. She has exhibited throughout New Zealand as well as in the UK, Germany, Belgium and Australia.

Marian Maguire’s early work was mainly figurative and gestural but in the early nineties she shifted to emblematic architectural forms. Her 1996 series, Library Travelling, incorporated imagery from a wide range of historical sources and linked sixty-six small etchings and three large composite prints in a loose narrative. Perfect Planning and Regarding the Renaissance followed and in these series of paintings she explores the relationship between the architects of the Italian Renaissance and the art, architecture and mathematics of ancient Greece. Through this enquiry she became interested in black-figure vase painting and produced two exhibitions: Vases & Narratives (1999) and Mythical Landscapes (2000).

It was while making Mythical Landscapes that she first set Greek mythology in the New Zealand landscape. Maguire extended this idea further in Southern Myths (2002), a series of nine etchings threaded on an adapted plotline from Homer’s Iliad. In the next series of lithographs, The Odyssey of Captain Cook (2005), the Endeavour became the vehicle by which the ancient Greeks collided with resident Māori. In The Labours of Herakles (2008) the archetypal Greek hero is cast as New Zealand pioneer and proceeds to colonise the new land. In Titokowaru’s Dilemma (2011) the action shifts to the land wars of South Taranaki in the late 1860’s.
Between them, these three latter series take a serious look at the history of Aotearoa New Zealand through the colonial period.

Marian’s home town of Christchurch was hit by devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Her response to the quakes was expressed in the exhibition of seven paintings on panel, Feats, Pursuits & Endless Toil (2015). In 2017 she exhibited two painted fire surrounds and accompanying lithographs: Odysseus and Penelope. Between them, they present Marian’s take on Homer’s Odyssey. Maguire’s states her objective with the fireplaces is to create a tools to stimulate storytelling and discussion. In 2018, a third fireplace, Te Koha (2012-14), was gifted to Ngaruahine, the iwi of Riwha Tītokowaru. It depicts scenes, people and objects relevant to Ngaruahine history and resides on marae under the careship of Ngati Hāua.

Her series Goddesses, in which Ancient Greek goddesses step sideways from their traditional characterisation and assigned roles was completed in 2017. At around this time she began working on The Enlightenment Project, an exploration of Western history, a major print series first exhibited in 2022 and expanded upon in 2024.

Aside from historical and mythical themes, Maguire is also interested in visual patterning and geometric abstraction, as is evidenced in exhibitions such as: Forest (2003), Paper Garden (2006), Boogie Woogie with Gordon Walters (2018) and Botanical Folio (2023).

Marian Maguire is represented in public collections including: Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa; Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki; Christchurch Art Gallery, Te Puna o Waiwhetu; National Gallery of Australia; The Waikato Museum, Te Whare Taonga o Waikato; University of Canterbury; Massey University; The Hocken Collection, University of Otago; New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Central Queensland University, Australia; Cambridge University, UK; The Birthplace of Captain Cook Museum, Middlesborough, UK; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the British Museum, UK.

Exhibitions:
2023 – Botanical Folio
2022 – The Enlightenment Project
2020 – Squeeze & Meander
2019 – Meander & An Untitled Journey
2018 – Goddesses
2018 – Boogie Woogie with Gordon Walters
2017 – Fireplaces: Odysseus, Penelope & Te Koha
2015 – Feats, Pursuits & Endless Toil

View work in stock 

Artist’s website
Goddesses – video interview
British Museum – video – Titokowaru’s Dilemma

About original prints