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Work of the Week | 3 January 2022

CAG.3077 Brian Maguire, Arizona 3, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 140 cm. Purchased, Brian Maguire and Kerlin Gallery Dublin, 2020. © the artist.

For our first WORK OF THE WEEK in 2022 we’re focusing on a recent acquisition that features in our current exhibition, REMAINS – Brian Maguire.

Arizona 3 (2020), as its title suggests, presents a desert landscape from the southwestern United States in which the question of life is explored.

The elevated viewpoint is set at an average standing height but looking downwards onto the bleached tones of the desert floor. A spectral tree rises through the middle of this large canvas towards an intense blue sky. At the base of the tree, contrasting with the sparse vegetation lie the remains of a human figure.

This is part of a series of recent paintings by Brian Maguire (b.1951) that calls attention to the migrant lives lost in the Sonoran Desert. For each discovery of a body in this area a case with digital images is created. In 2019, the artist visited Dr Greg Hess (Chief Medical Examiner for Pima County, Tucson, Arizona) who gave him access to some thousand visual records of these people who had been crossing from South and Central America into the United States.

Using a selection from this photographic source, Maguire began a new series of paintings that acknowledge the many unidentified victims who undertook this perilous journey. In approaching this difficult, yet vital subject, the artist looks “for the single image which tells the whole story."

Arizona 3 (2020) is featured in REMAINS – Brian Maguire (Floor 1) until 9 January.

Free entry | Open daily

Tune in to The Arts House on Cork's 96FM and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about a work from the collection!

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