Better known as a musician in local band Fool’s Gold than as an artist, Steve Maguire only first picked up a paintbrush two years ago. But his debut exhibition, currently at Gallery 48, shows a striking intuition for colour and shape.
Steve said he was first inspired to try his hand at painting by his wife who was dappling in mixed media.
“Once I started it became an addiction,” said Steve. “I’ve got a house full – I think every wall is filled up with paintings and they’re starting to stack at the base of the wall. I had to have an exhibition and hopefully sell a few so I can actually bring some more in.”
While Steve admits he had no idea how to stage an exhibition or sell his artwork, a series of quickfire emails were enough to impress Gallery 48’s operator Anne Lord, who is proud to have Steve’s work in her Strand-side space.
“Steve’s got this intuitive sense of using colour,” Anne said. “I think that’s a really good thing. That appealed to me when I saw Steve’s work.”
The exhibition is dappled with various subject matter in Steve’s unique style including landscapes, the female form and what Steve calls his “Asylum Series” – a foursome of childlike images titled The Happy Lunatic, The Village Idiot, The Physician and The Smoker.
“Happy Lunatic I suppose is a bit of departure from reality, which I think we all need to do now and then,” said Steve. “I put him in a straight jacket, put him in an asylum, but give him a big happy face because he’s fully medicated, he doesn’t care, he’s living life. He’s away from the pressures and I think that’s where we all want to get to sometimes, so we can all relate to it.
“The Physician was the same sort of thing, but more a dark side of the asylum series and he’s more [ambiguous]. Is he a good guy or is he a bad guy? Is he there to help or is he there to experiment? He gives you that dual persona.”
Steve said while he starts each piece with a rough idea of what he’d like to paint, his interesting colour palettes don’t take shape until they hit the canvas.
“Sometimes I do plan the concept, but I wouldn’t plan them in the traditional sense. I have a an idea of going: I want to do a guy in a straight jacket, so I sort of roughly sketch him, but I don’t plan on what colour I’m going to use or how I’m actually going to develop him – that comes once I throw a few colours on the palette and then start putting colours on the board.”
With such an interesting first exhibition, Steve Maguire is one emerging artist worth keep an eye on.
“I owe big time to Anne for taking a chance on an unknown in Townsville to have an exhibition,” Steve said.
Catch Steve Maguire’s exhibition at Gallery 48 The Strand, open Wednesdays and Saturdays 12pm – 5pm or by appointment.