Maura McGurk was chosen as a Featured Artist of climate/gallery based on submission of her painting Lament.
This painting was part of the exhibition NEVER THINK small and was judged by Kathy Murphy, publisher of Modern Painters Magazine, as one of the Best in Show.
McGurk said the work was inspired in part by her friend’s grandmother who had recently become ill. The imagery comes from a photograph McGurk took of a shrine in Palermo, Sicily, which was built into a wall near the Vucceria market. The somber color, title, and reference to the shrine suggest a lament for the dead but McGurk asks that the piece not be read only as a requiem.
“Saint Rosalia, whose name is written there in the shrine, is the patron saint of Palermo. The idea of a patron saint who looks out for your interests and offers protection has always been appealing to me, not from a religious standpoint (though I did grow up with people around me praying to Saint Anthony and other saints) but from a superstitious one. You pray to Saint Anthony to bring you the car keys you misplaced and then you find them. That suggestion is pretty powerful.
“So while I was thinking of my friend’s grandmother while I painted it, and feeling sad to hear that she’d fallen ill, I don’t think of this piece as only sad and contemplative. People who knew, or knew of, Audrey (or Big Nana) also know that she was funny, devilish, generous, as well as a lover of sad country songs and good martinis. She’s a person everyone tells stories about, someone people remember. So thinking of this very strong personality at the same time as I was incorporating a reference to a patron saint makes the painting act a bit like a talisman, something with a little strength behind it, something to watch over you.”
“…Ms. McGurk employs a similar collage style, embedding text fragments in jabs of paint, but her take on the technique focuses on unexpected color combinations. Her “Via Settembre” includes red variations of raspberry, rose and tomato. Laid out in a horizontal pattern, these swatches imply a landscape view, especially with the gray-blue rectangle along the top edge. Minute bits of black script locate the foreground with delicate swirls.
In Ms. McGurk’s “Fratello,” brilliant red zaps electric blue. She can also work magic with more sedate combinations; her “Messina” shows a watery world of turquoise with touches of rusty orange and greenish gold.”
My painting called Amunnini was chosen as the cover art for a poetry journal called Anti-. This work was inspired by teaching for three summers in Italy, and is made with Italian wall posters which I collected in Sicily.
I hope you’ll be moved to check out the poetry, which is fantastic. You can read the poetry journal here.
“…Maura is talking about her love for Italy. Besides being moved by the light alone, she has become enthralled with the generosity of the people, the food and the vivacious appreciation for life. Having visited Italy as an assistant painting teacher to Tony Miraglia with UMass Dartmouth’s Sicily program, McGurk, as well as her work, have become permanently altered.”
Maura has been awarded an Artist’s Grant by the Vermont Studio Center, to fund a residency there in Fall 2010. Maura will be in residence as a painter from October-November. Stay tuned for more information, and to follow her blogging from Vermont.