When Spotlight Artist Caroline Magerl was a child, she dared herself to walk toward the end of a pier with her eyes closed. The idea was to stop before the edge. She fell into the water of course.
When Caroline paints, she feels much the same. The choices are often intuitive and the results are at once a surprise and a recollection. There emerges a pattern of conflict, a sense that she must go where things are inverted so a new thing can emerge, a synthesis.
Caroline believes that ages can weary but also gives us the space to think, and has found this space after many years on the run, emotionally and physically. The result is a unique and intimate body of work that peeps inside the unconscious self, tapping into dreams to find a visual language to express one’s journey in life.
Caroline Magerl is based in Buderim, Queensland, Australia, and has a show coming up in Noosaville. We had a little chat with her:
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming show “Figures, faces & the poetic narratives”?
I began this current group of paintings and etchings with a growing interest in portraits. My work has always been figurative in nature and this has taken on a more realistic quality, so I suppose portraits were a natural outcome. I have also been curious about how people and objects can carry such a charge through associations. In relating to the subject, something is set in train which I engage with as I paint. The viewer brings their own associations to the image, often there are uncanny and interesting parallels. Hence my description of the poetic narrative.
Is there a way for people not able to go to Australia to get involved with the show?
The show opens on 3rd October and can be viewed at http://thegalleryeumundi.com.au. I intend posting a short film on Youtube of the opening night as a way of sharing an enjoyable event for myself, friends and visitors to the gallery. Anyone at a distance who may be interested in what I do is welcome contact me at Caroline@cmagerl.com.au, or better still, come along to my Saturday debut next March at Debut Contemporary!
Exhibiting in Australia and the UK, what do you think the differences are between the art scenes?
Like the population, the art scene in Australia tends to be centred on the coast, specifically Sydney and Melbourne, even if the subject matter isn't. The economy of scale in population (22 million people) tends to limit the depth that it can carry in any particular area. That said, I have a lot of respect for art produced here.
The UK has the advantage of a long tradition of appreciation and acceptance. I personally feel confident about exhibiting in the UK because of the local flavour, if you like. I also notice the variety and depth of the art scene in the UK.
You also are an illustrator for children’s books, does that relate to your style of artworks or is it something completely different?
I think the key lies in the intent. When illustrating a picture book, I am engaged with providing a visual counterpoint to the text. There is a discipline to be followed as there is a distinct purpose to the work. The tone is set by the text and its requirements. In terms of media, I use watercolour and ink, and aim for lightness of touch and brevity.
In my painting there is an exploratory quality which is necessary so that ways are found to express ideas. The conversation I am having with the subject is very different to how things go in illustrating. I am not always sure what the outcome will be, there is quite a deal more struggle which I feel is part of the finished work. It is good to read the time that has gone into a painting and maybe see what the painter was thinking while producing the work. My paintings are in oil, I do believe the material has an impact on the painter even as the painter manipulates the material.
What would you recommend as must-sees, for when we visit Australia?
- Do not be a German tourist and attempt to cycle around Australia.
- Sydney is a visually beautiful city sitting on the harbour and iconic sites.
- Melbourne has a completely different personality and is well worth the time to explore .It is our most "European "city with a vibrant art scene.
- I live in a small town which is known for its ginger plantations. You'll want to see that.... or perhaps not.
- Far north Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are beautiful but go in winter.
- My list of to do's include whale sharks and wild flowers in Western Australia, and a wine and cheese extravaganza in Tasmania.
- As you have come so far, a side trip New Zealand also, it has a unique landscape and light.
Do you often come to London? What are your favourite hang-outs if you do?
I have been to London three times; all have been too short of course. This year's trip afforded me time to see the galleries, Tate Modern, Saatchi and National Portrait Gallery. As a visitor it is the atmosphere that makes London for me: the human crush of peak hour, afternoons off with as many river crossings as I could on foot, photographing dogs and people in Battersea Park, making a glutton of myself in Borough Markets. I will be doing that all again.
Do you have an interesting fact for us?
When I was an eleven year old, I saw a rainbow formed in the moonlight, it was completely white. Makes sense now, but at the time I was amazed.