Wednesday 16 March 2016

IMMA - Nick Miller & Edward Maguire Archive

 On Saturday I was at IMMA to have another look at a few of the shows there. There were three shows featured in the Garden Galleries, but I followed my daughter to the top floor to the Nick Miller & Edward Maguire Archive exhibition. There was jazz playing in the final room of the show (the sound had drawn my daughter to it), so we started at that and went backwards through the rooms.

While it's always great to see a painting show, as a painter I am always even more interested in the artist's tools, studio environment and method of working. So this final room was for me the best way to begin looking at Miller's reponse to Maguire's work.

There was even a key to the objects from the archive.

It was interesting to see the wizard costume hanging on the wall and later see it in a portrait. Theoretically one would see the painting first and then the costume, if one had followed the room chronology, but I think it works in either direction.

 Both Nick Miller and Edward Maguire are (and were, respectively) portrait painters -- Miller's work very expressionist and loose, and Maguire's almost hyper-real and controlled. In Edward Maguire's portrait of Paul Durcan (I think from the late 1970s) I could easily recognise the poet whom I had had the pleasure of hearing speak and read on several occasions in the 1980s.

I love Miller's portrait painting style. This is obviously a more recent portrait of Durcan; at least his aging wasn't a complete shock to me as I had already been made aware of the passage of time (with regard to someone else) when I saw Durcan more recently in a documentary about the Edward Maguire archive.

At IMMA, there was a display vitrine near Maguire's portrait of Anthony Cronin that contained the objects (ancient iron, pot & plate) that are included in the portrait. The exhibition was a joy -- seeing the studio artefacts in their own space, props displayed alongside paintings, jazz music (Bill Evans) permeating the space and the work of a completely different artist displayed in respectful response to Maguire's work.  I really enjoyed this exhibition of art and artefact.

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