October 2, 2016
In an exhibition sponsored by the City of Federal Way, painter Maura McGurk uses texture, color and found objects to explore long-term relationships, particularly gay marriage.
McGurk explains that she arrived at this theme through a challenge she gave to herself, to begin using pattern in more conscious ways in her paintings. This technical consideration quickly turned metaphorical as she began to consider the patterns (specifically behavioral ones) in her daily life. This train of thought eventually led to the realization that her eight-year relationship with her wife could now qualify as “long-term”.
But it was a trip to Italy in 2015, their first since traveling there together as a brand-new couple, that provided a natural opportunity to examine their relationship at its beginning and at its current bloom. This bookending also caused McGurk to revisit some of her earlier artwork, since she was inspired by Italy at that time. The warm Italian palette, crusty textures, sense of the passage of time, and found objects such as Italian wall posters frequently featured in her compositions, and she has returned to some of these elements to explore marriage.
The occasional exploration of the figure is a departure from McGurk’s usual abstraction, and a move into more explicitly personal territory and themes.
…And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Excerpt from “On Marriage” by Kahlil Gibran