This monograph, featuring over 120 of his artworks, traces the remarkable career of the painter Richard Maurovic. A large, lavishly illustrated enticing ‘coffee table ‘ book it is stunning, visually arresting and delicately draws the reader in.
It is twenty years since Richard Maurovic’s first solo exhibition in 1996. His 2016 exhibition of old and new works at the Hill Smith Gallery, Pirie Street, Adelaide, and the publication of this book celebrate his considerable achievements.
Often described as a ‘’super realist ‘” influenced by Jeffrey Smart, Richard Maurovic has in fact drawn on a wide range of artistic influences from Piero della Francesca to the American Precisionists painters, particularly Edward Hopper, and the Australian Modernists.
Human activity and its impact on the shaping of both rural and urban environments are of great concern to Maurovic .The visual geometric appeal of his subject matter, and explorations of colours, shapes, detail and patterns delight with his ‘bold structural compositions, saturated planes of colour and crisply rendered forms. Physically compromised by an accident in his early twenties, now wheelchair bound , Maurovic combines his interests and distinctive technique with extraordinary ingenuity in the pursuit of his very particular vision.
Richard Maurovic is an artist who, while summoning memories and associations of his beloved Adelaide and South Australian countryside, also makes statements of concern regarding the ubiquitous nature of modern landscape design and consumerism, and in doing so connects us across both interstate and international boundaries ( ie street signs, views at airports).
The book is divided into several chapters , looking at Maurovic’s early life and then various aspects of his work – how he is fascinated by industry , transport and technology, portraits, still life works, landscapes and so on and also provides a chapter looking towards the future.
One section I particularly liked is the amazing Portraits .There are a couple of marvellous self portraits, one of Maurovic as a glamourous Napoleon, the other as a Doge of Venice ( echoing Carpaccio ).
The portrait of Suzanne Twelftree with its echoes of Frida Kahlo’s work is striking and challenging. There is also the striking Self Portrait in Wheelchair, with its unusual angles and viewpoint, revealing the restrictions he faces, and leading on to the whole discourse on artists and disability.
In the ‘People’ section paintings range from dizzying Brooklyn Bridge workers to that of a busy chef and also a homage to Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe in the picture Echelon Menwith Hill featuring a strange golf ball like clouds with the military base in the background.
A solitary bather at Bondi poses on the steps and we also see the posh QVB tea rooms and the elegant Adelaide Club dining room contrasted with the plastic dreariness of the State Library Café in Adelaide ( look! It’s Jeffrey Smart! )
The wonderful still lifes are also arresting close ups of Smarties or the stripey Chocolate Biscuit Dreaming for example ( not forgetting the donuts , Frog cakes and other wonderful textured foods that make you just hungry looking at them ) in their precisely observed and controlled detail. It also make one appreciate the finely detailed design and texture.
The Shaved Pigs Head and Lamb Rump paintings are rather disturbing and unsettling.
The landscapes are also glorious ranging from Adelaide to London to Venice and elsewhere. There is an amazing sense of rushing speed with the works detailing planes, trains and trucks zooming everywhere.
At the back of the monograph there is a list of selected awards and exhibitions Maurovic has won /participated in. There is also a listing of all the works by Maurovic featured in the book and as well as a separate listing of the works by other artists included which are also acknowledged.
This monograph has been co-authored by Jennifer Palmer and Maggie Watson.
Jennifer Palmer is a retired broadcaster with ABC Radio National where she was responsible for the Social History Unit and other feature programs. She has also been a book reviewer and art reviewer for national newspapers, an interviewer for oral history collections and has published short stories.
Maggie Watson is an Art History Graduate of the University of Adelaide and holds a Masters in Fine and Decorative Art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She worked in the Modern British Art department of Christies’s London before returning to Australia. As an art consultant she has written catalogue essays for several Australian artists, including Richard Maurovic’s Saatchi exhibition in 2014.
Category Arts, Architecture and Design
Format Jacketed hardback
Size 260 x 250 mm
Extent 152 pages