Capturing the beauty and grittiness of nature in her seemingly effortless ink-on-paper drawings, Heads or Tails? – a solo exhibition by Melbourne-based artist Leith Maguire – will be presented by Linden New Art from 6 May 2016.
Unlike many artists, Maguire’s primary practice sees her immersed in nature, initially drawing from life, allowing her to capture the movement and life of Australia’s flora and fauna. “I am interested in the way that living things exist and move through the natural world,” said Maguire.
“For me, drawing has always been a means of articulating the patterns and cycles present in the surrounding environment, as well as a way of exploring and attempting to understand my place in them.”
Heads or Tails? explores the complex relationship we have with native Australian flora and fauna. Images of our wildlife are experiencing a comeback as mascots for local conservation efforts, and as barometers to measure the extent of damage inflicted on the Australian landscape and its inhabitants through human intervention and environmental instability.
“Leith’s work demonstrates the beautiful pure skill of communicating through the most simplest of media line on paper,” says Linden New Art curator Edwina Bolger.
Maguire has been a lover of nature since childhood. She grew up in the leafy western suburbs of Brisbane in a house converted from a Cobb & Co. coach station near the Brisbane River, and spent much of her childhood exploring nature in her backyard. Now living in Melbourne, she finds chances to escape to the outdoors wherever she can.
“I live right on the border of East Brunswick and Northcote, and love spending time at Ceres Environment Park or walking down by Merri Creek,” said Maguire. “When I have a whole day off working in the studio, I prefer to go further afield, and generally head down the Victorian surf coast for some ocean time.”
In 2013 Maguire was the Hill End Artist in Residence funded by Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, an experience that shaped her practice. “I come from a family of water men and women, and after spending much of my time in coastal areas growing up, I found myself challenged by the experience of being immersed in a regional bush setting to make art,” said Maguire.
“It was during this residency that I began focusing on drawing from life,” said Maguire. “For the first time I felt like I was really ‘looking’ at the subject matter I was tackling, and also simultaneously working my experience of the landscape or object into the drawing.”
Leith Maguire: Heads or Tails?
Linden New Art, 26 Acland Street, St Kilda
Exhibition: 6 May – 17 July 2016
Image: Leith Maguire, Skulk, 2016, ink on paper. Image reproduced courtesy of the artist and Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne – photo by Matthew Stanton.