Tim Maguire


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Explore Sydney Contemporary

Tim Maguire - Tanks (1999)

Tim Maguire

(Australian, b. 1958)

Tanks (99u72), 1999
signed and titled on the reverse
oil on canvas
60.2 by 60.5 cm.

The artist

AUD $ 12,500

Payment over 10 months with Art Money available

March – April 2022

ILEANA is delighted to announce Tim Maguire’s first solo exhibition in Queensland, which is also the first exhibition of the artist’s early paintings. Lines of Inquiry will include important series such as the Horizon paintings, the Tank paintings, an early Flower painting and the Fontana series.

Key Points

  • The Tanks paintings are exceptionally rare to come to market, as Maguire’s early work has not been commercially exhibited since it was painted
  • The series is extremely well represented in institutional collections (see below), as are the related Canal paintings
  • The Tanks paintings reference a quintessentially Australian theme, and developed out of Maguire’s early depictions of Australian iconography
  • These dramatic depictions of the light coming out from in between water tanks are amongst his most important early works
  • Tim Maguire is one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, with works in all of the country’s major institutions

Comparable works

Tim Maguire, Two Tanks 1, 1990
Ipswich Art Gallery Collection
Tim Maguire, Two Tanks 2, 1990
Ipswich Art Gallery Collection
Tim Maguire, Black Tanks, 1990
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Tim Maguire, Red Tanks, 1990
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Tim Maguire, Tank, 1986
The University of New South Wales, Sydney

In Context

Just as the Horizon paintings had developed out of earlier depictions of Australian iconography, so the Tank and Canal paintings from the early 1990s emerged out of Tim Maguire’s previous depictions of water tanks in the Australian landscape (see Tank, 1986 at the University of NSW, Sydney). And like the Horizon series, these paintings are much more abstracted interpretations of their subjects – in fact, the works depict light as much as physical objects. 

The figurative origins of these paintings are best understood through examination of the early 1990s tank paintings (see Red Tanks, 1990 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, or Black Tanks, 1990 at the Art Gallery of South Australia). As indeed also in the smaller Tank (1999) on the next page, these paintings depict blinding strips of sunlight coming out from in between corrugated watertanks, still identifiable by their rippled edges but otherwise abstracted into concentric semi-circles. 

“I was moving towards imagery that was less culturally specific. For this reason, too, the water-tanks were starting to become more classical columns and strips of light.”

– Tim Maguire

Although these paintings mark an abrupt departure from the elongated horizontal Australian landscapes to totemic vertical bands, the reference is again idiosyncratically Australian: these tanks are found all over the country where water needs to be preserved. They neatly juxtapose two natural elements (water and light) that are in constant struggle, and whose devastating effects in the form of droughts and floods have in recent years become a defining feature of the Australian landscape.

Simultaneously, Maguire was very aware of referencing the famous ‘zip paintings’ of abstract expressionist painter Barnett Newman, particularly so in the closely related series of Canal paintings. This paintings were begun when the artist was living in London, and six large examples were shown at the Chisenhale Gallery in 1992.


Click to watch Tim Maguire in conversation with Maria Stoljar


Tim Maguire was born in the United Kingdom, and lives and works in between his studios in Sydney and the Loire Valley in France. He studied at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf under the Dutch conceptual artist Jan Dibbets (1984), and has exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions at the Chisenhale Gallery in London, Urs Meile in Zurich and Ikon Gallery in Birmingham amongst others. His works are in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide, Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, and the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, amongst others.

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2021 Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
2018 Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle
2018 Maitland Regional Gallery
2018 Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
2017 Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Sydney
2015 Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne
2015 Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville
2013 Deutsche Bank Building, Sydney
2012 The Swansea Gallery, Perth
2011 Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich
2011 Von Lintel Gallery, New York
2011 The Australian Club, Melbourne
2009 Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
2008 Galerie Couvrat Desvergnes, Paris
2008 Hewer Street Studios, London
2008 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
2007 Studio Franck Bordas, Paris
2006 Bathhurst Fossil and Mineral Museum
2005 Nick Allen Gallery, London
2004 Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne
2003 Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo
2002 Mori Gallery, Sydney
2002 Campbelltown City Art Gallery
2001 John Curtin Gallery, Perth
2000 Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam
2000 OXO Tower Wharf, London
1998 Projektraum, Berlin
1997 Andreas Hecker Gallerie, Cologne

Selected Collections
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The British Museum, London
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart
Museum of Old & New Art, Hobart
Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria
Derwent Collection, Tasmania
Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria
TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria
New Art Gallery, Walsall
McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Langwarrin
Orange Regional Gallery, New South Wales
Parliament House Collection, Canberra
Tamar Collection, Tasmania
Academisch Ziekenhuis, Leiden
Deakin University, Melbourne
Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
University of Launceston, Tasmania
University of Melbourne, Melbourne
University of Sydney, Sydney
Darwin College of Advanced Education, Darwin
Griffith Artworks, Brisbane
Artbank, Australia
Deutsche Bank, London
JMH Bank, Frankfurt
St Thomas’ Hospital, London
Qantas Collection, Sydney
Siemens AG, Munich
Zurich Insurance, Zurich

ILEANA at Explore Sydney Contemporary

Walead Beshty, Louise Bourgeois, Dorian Büchi, Michael Craig-Martin, Melissa Gordon, Richard Hamilton, Rachel Howard, Louise Lawler, Tony Lewis, Sol LeWitt, Tim Maguire, Takesada Matsutani, Edda Renouf, Bridget Riley, Peter Schuyff, Stansfield/Hooykaas, Wang Guangyi, Christopher Wool

Presented at Explore Sydney Contemporary (11-21 November 2021)

All artworks © the artist.