Friday, April 23, 2010

In praise of: Mary McIntyre

I was in Wellington to attend the opening of my friend Mary McIntyre’s new exhibition at the NZ Portrait Gallery, in Shed 11 on the waterfront. If you live in Wellington, or are visiting it between now and 18 July, don’t miss it.

Curated by Richard Wolfe (that’s him above with the artist and her Minotaur at Maungarei), it is Mary’s first retrospective and I think her biggest show ever. Called Head 2 Head, it is a joint show with Martin Ball who is a realist artist working often on a very large scale. Mary’s paintings vary widely in scale, from roundels just 80 mm in diameter to large oils 1.5 metres wide. They vary just as much in their degree of realism: often there are surreal elements or bizarre juxtapositions. There is a sharp eye and a keen brain at work here, and a formidable technique.

Next month will see the launch of the book Mary McIntyre: Painter by art historian Robin Woodward of Auckland University, which has been designed by Jacinda Torrance. I’ve seen and read the page proofs: it will be a beautiful book and the text is illuminating throughout. Everyone involved in both exhibition and book has done Mary proud.


Phil said...

Always thought she was one of our leading Oil realists. I remember her earlier works which were on a small scale - fab technique and almost photo realist quality.

Stephen Stratford said...

I was lucky enough to see her in her studio working on the underpainting of a small work - I have no idea about the technical aspects really but it seemed to me that she was using techniques from the Renaissance, building up the colours layer by painstaking layer. I have two smallish paintings by her, and the gradations in the background colours are amazing. The imagery is what strikes you at first, but the technique underpinning it all is really something.