Reviews, News and Commentary

The magical panoramic Auckland paintings of George Baloghy

Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples

George Baloghy, Mt Eden to One Tree Hill

The magical panoramic Auckland paintings of George Baloghy

George Baloghy, Urban Pastoral

Artis Gallery

Until May 22

Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples

George Baloghy’s latest exhibition “Urban Pastoral” continues the artists interest in documenting and appreciating Auckland’s urban landscape  which his art practice has been concerned with for over fifty years.

The works in the exhibition highlight the fact that much of Auckland City is blessed with green open spaces, much of this made possible  through the protection of the city’s many volcanic cones. The paintings, like the city are dominated by these cones and green spaces such as Mt Eden, Mt Hobson, One Tree Hill/Cornwall Park and  Mt Victoria. They also highlight just how green and lush the landscape is.

George Baloghy, Mt Victoria to North Head

Not only has Baloghy a history of painting urban views he is part of a long tradition of such painters going back hundreds of years with artists such as Canaletto, Vermeer and Pissarro.

With his paintings he also follows in the footsteps of artists like the Valentine Brothers whose photographs documented early Auckland. Like those photographs they were mainly taken from the high vantage points of the city such as  Mt Eden  partly  to capture the panorama but also as with Baloghy, to avoid the encroaching trees and buildings which could compromise the views.

The paintings are all recognisable images of Auckland and focus on the contrasts between the built environment and the natural landscape as well as referencing the changes which have occurred in Auckland over the course of its history.

In “Mount Hobson to Mount Eden” ($14,000) the curve of the motorway is  a reminder of the way the motorcar has defin3ed the city as much as its topography while “Mt Eden to One Tree Hill” with the  memorial atop the hill a reference to both Māori occupation and European settlement.

One is also conscious of the architectural changes which have altered the urban landscape not only with the large building projects such as Green Lane Hospital but also the slow displacement of the older villas by newer contemporary houses.

George Baloghy, Devonport Wharf

One of the more dramatic works is “Devonport Wharf”  ($12,500) which features a panoramic  view of Mt Eden as well as an impressive  view of the Waitemata along with much boat activity on the harbour. “Mount Eden to One Tree Hill” ($14,000) is also impressive with its dramatic vista like some  sort of homage to Cezanne’s iconic views of Mt St Victoire,

The views which Baloghy has produced are almost magical, encouraging the viewer to explore the city from multiple viewpoints and even though his views are recognisable, the impression is of a city of heightened colour, sharper light, tidier and more carefully arranged – like a model of the city rather than the real one.

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By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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