Hero by Brendan  McGorry

Hero

Brendan McGorry

19 February to 17 March 2024

Sanderson are pleased to present the exhibition Hero featuring a new body of works by Brendan McGorry.

McGorry (b.1966) is a contemporary painter who lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. The artist is known for his distinctive painting style: with bold, striking arrangements of colour and linear use of line.

McGorry combines different art historical references in his work, both in the stylistic elements he employs and specific artworks he alludes to; while his subjects are often unlikely protagonists for portraits. The blending of these elements consequently presents something intrinsically unique.

In Hero, McGorry bridges the gap between these modes of incorporation. While there are features reminiscent of Japonisme, through the inclusion of Japanese accoutrements, the works take on their own meaning through the depiction of the artist’s granddaughter Aaliya – who is portrayed as a warrior princess.

McGorry explains:

‘ I wanted to present my granddaughter as a symbol of strength and courage after she has faced adversity in her life.’

Viewing Cleopatra, his granddaughter sits in a pose reminiscent of rulers in imperial portraits, donning royal purple and regal jewellery, her gaze directed at us, her power apparent. In Portrait of the Artist’s granddaughter in the Studio, she stands contrapposto, wearing a full-length kimono tied with an obi and holding a katana on her shoulder, while in The Warrior Princess, Aaliya is wearing chain mail armour. In each of the works, the art historical canon surrounding portraiture is alluded to, whilst Surrealist motifs and Art Nouveau floral patterns surround the figure, creating dreamlike scenes. Historic and aesthetic references are juxtaposed with contemporary features such as thick leather boots, striped socks or a cat idly walking by.

McGorry studied drawing with the New York Studio School in Italy. He has been the winner of the Estuary Art and Ecology Award in Aotearoa, as well as being a finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award, New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award, the National Drawing Award of New Zealand, the North Shore City Art Award, the Walker and Hall Waiheke Art Award, Anthony Harper Contemporary Art Award and Adam Portraiture Award.

McGorry’s artworks are held in the permanent collection of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand Tongarewa and the Auckland City Council, as well as private collections worldwide.

A full exhibition essay by Fine Lavoni Koloamatangi will accompany the exhibition.

For an exhibition catalogue please email info@sanderson.co.nz


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