Born in Christchurch 1962, Marian Maguire graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1984 and 1986 she studied at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography, Albuquerque. During 1991 she was Artist in Residence at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art and was Artist in Residence at Tylee Cottage, Whanganui in 2010. She received an Award for Excellence from the Canterbury Community Trust in 1998.
Many of Marian’s images mix the imagined with the real and display a personal response to history. Since 1997 her prints and paintings have been largely related to Greek vase painting and in the series of etchings Southern Myths (2002) she worked a classical narrative into the New Zealand environment. 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 Maori. 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.
In 2013 she was commissioned by the New Zealand Defence Force to make a lithograph to commemorate seventy years since the war in the Pacific.
Marian’s response to the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-13 was expressed in Feats, Pursuits & Endless Toil (2015), painting on panel which combined mythical subjects with geometric abstraction. In 2017 she exhibited painted fire surrounds: Odysseus and Penelope. Between them, they present Marian’s take on Homer’s Odyssey. Maguire’s states her objective with the fireplaces is to use them as tools to stimulate storytelling and discussion. In 2018, a third fireplace, Te Koha (2012-14), was gifted to Ngaruahine, the iwi of Riwha Titokowaru. It depicts scenes, people and objects relevant to Ngaruahine history and resides on marae under the careship of Ngati Hāua. In her 2017 Goddesses series she returns to Classical Greek archetypes, re-imagining ancient goddesses through a feminist lens.
Alongside the narrative images Maguire has produced abstract work in painting, drawing and print. In the exhibitions Forest (2003) and Flow Diagrams (2004) she has abstracted sections of patterning from the Greek vases to produce formal, optic works. In The Paper Garden (2007) and Botanical Studies from an Exploratory Voyage (2008) her interest in patterning continues and she moves towards invented naturalism. The works of artists Gordon Walters and Piet Mondrian have inspired her series of paintings on paper: Boogie Woogie with Gordon Walters (2016-18). Recent series: Meander (2019) and Squeeze (2019-20) continue the geometric theme.
Her work has been reproduced on the covers of numerous publications both within New Zealand and internationally.
Marian Maguire has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand. She has also exhibited in Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany. In 2019 her Goddesses series was exhibited at the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge, UK; The Labours of Herakles was shown at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK; and she was included in ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’ a major exhibition at the British Museum.
Her work is represented in public collections including: Te Papa Taongawera, Museum of New Zealand; Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki; Christchurch Art Gallery, Te Puna o Waiwhetu; The Waikato Museum, Te Whare Taonga o Waikato; University of Canterbury; Massey University; The Hocken Collection, University of Otago: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; National Gallery of Australia; Central Queensland University, Australia; Cambridge University, UK; The Birthplace of Captain Cook Museum, Middlesborough, UK; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK; the British Museum.
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