Elemental Tension

Timothy Maguire, Panorama (Fire and Flood) 2018


Fire and flood, the diametric poles of natural disaster, are recurring features of the Australian landscape. In this panoramic print, Tim Maguire suggests their all-encompassing and immersive effects, in which the world we know is consumed by elemental forces. The work was created for Maitland, a city which has been defined by dramatic floods since it was founded on the banks of the Hunter River in the nineteenth century.

Maguire’s art practice straddles the techniques of painting and printmaking. He uses the traditional printing process of colour separation into cyan, magenta, yellow and black to lay the foundation of his work, which he then disrupts through falling droplets of solvent. The solvent reveals pulsing spots and clusters of colour values that combine in different ways, introducing elements of spontaneity and randomness that speak to the organic patterns and forces of the natural world.

Maguire has said that his experience of the processes involved in printmaking helps him think about how he makes his paintings and vice versa: ‘The process has always been attractive to me because there is a wonderful unpredictability about the result.’ Just as no two floods are the same, neither are Maguire’s prints. The seven panels of Panorama (Fire and Flood), incarnate the arbitrariness of natural forces, using the push and pull between painting and printmaking to speak to the elemental tensions between fire, water and the land.