Art needs to be justified. Financially – at least such is the prevailing public opinion reflected in arts funding, and philosophically from a critical point of view. Consequence; a lot of art produced comes with a ready-made philosophy in anticipation of art criticism. Brendan McGorry’s work does not seem to be made for such criticism. The only criticism it is open to is unabashedly is the one traditionally feared by modern artists “any child could do that” Perhaps a child could, but McGorry is an adult, and his choice to to work as he does is deliberate and allows him the liberty to express themes which might otherwise be frowned upon as unrealistic.
Once the accusation of childlike work has been levelled it becomes difficult to add to; the label “children’s art” implies a certain trust and confidence on the part of the artist which the rest of us have lost and which, in this knowledge, we find very hard, near impossible to betray in the form of criticism.
McGorry’s art is before the Fall but with knowledge of the Fall. As a mature artist McGorry has knowledge of Perspective, Form and Colour, (Good and Evil), but his choice has been to ignore these in favour of a more childlike and positive perception of reality that does not include conventional realism.
There is a heightened awareness of aspects of colour and movement which are usually taken for granted,but which children and artist display a continuing wonder at. Capturing essence is more important than giving detail.
The colour used through brilliant is uneven. Objects portrayed are unashamedly two dimensional. Figure outlines show little obedience to the angular rigidity of the human form at any particular moment in time but rather pay testimony to the figures movement and flexibility over time (e.g. the lithograph “Alive”)
In looking to capture this essence McGorry’s inspiration comes from the realm of the soul, children’s art, primitive art, the gestural paintings of the abstract expressionists and the outrageous scribbles of Appel and Dubuffet. The result of these influences is a very humanistic art, which over time, has developed a depth and certain complexity that is entirely McGorry’s own.
Brendan McGorry was born in 1966 in Auckland where he lived until he went to Ilam Art School in 1986. On returning to Auckland he quickly gained a foothold in the competitive Auckland Gallery scene by having a critically acclaimed solo show at the age of 22. Since then he has shown successfully throughout New Zealand.