Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1962, Marian Maguire graduated from the Ilam School of Art, University of Canterbury in 1984 and in 1986 studied at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography, Albuquerque, USA. She was awarded an Artist in Residence at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art in 1991, received an Award for Excellence from the Canterbury Community Trust in 1998 and in 2010 was Artist in Residence at Tylee Cottage, Whanganui. In 2018 Marian Maguire was formally adopted by Ngāti Hāua o Ngāruahinerangi, Taranaki. She is currently involved in the Christ Church Cathedral reinstatement project. Marian Maguire has exhibited throughout New Zealand as well as in the UK, Germany, Belgium and Australia.
Marian Maguire's early work was mainly figurative and gestural but in the early nineties she shifted to emblematic architectural forms. Her 1996 series, Library Travelling, incorporated imagery from a wide range of historical sources and linked sixty-six small etchings and three large composite prints in a loose narrative. Perfect Planning and Regarding the Renaissance followed and in these series of paintings she explores the relationship between the architects of the Italian Renaissance and the art, architecture and mathematics of ancient Greece. Through this enquiry she became interested in black-figure vase painting and produced two exhibitions: Vases & Narratives (1999 ) and Mythical Landscapes (2000).
It was while making Mythical Landscapes that she first set Greek mythology in the New Zealand landscape. Maguire extended this idea further in Southern Myths, a series of nine etchings threaded on an adapted plotline from the Iliad. The Odyssey of Captain Cook followed, then came The Labours of Herakles (2008) and Titokowaru’s Dilemma (2011). Between them, these three latter series take a serious look at the history of Aotearoa New Zealand through the colonial period.
Marian's home town of Christchurch was hit by devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Her response to the quakes was expressed in the exhibition of seven paintings on panel, Feats, Pursuits & Endless Toil (2015). In 2017 she exhibited two painted fire surrounds and accompanying lithographs, Odysseus and Penelope. Between them, they present Marian's take on Homer's Odyssey. Her series Goddesses, in which Ancient Greek goddesses step sideways from their assigned roles was also completed in 2017.
The Enlightenment Project followed. First exhibited in 2022 this major series of digital prints explores Western history: the concepts and conflicts within Europe itself in the lead up to Western expansion across the globe, tracking through to the end of the nineteenth century.
Aside from historical and mythical themes, Maguire is also interested in visual patterning and geometric abstraction, as is evidenced in exhibitions such as: Forest (2003), Paper Garden (2006) and Boogie Woogie with Gordon Walters (2018).
Marian Maguire is represented in public collections including: Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa; Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki; Christchurch Art Gallery, Te Puna o Waiwhetu; National Gallery of Australia; The Waikato Museum, Te Whare Taonga o Waikato; University of Canterbury; Massey University; The Hocken Collection, University of Otago; New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Central Queensland University, Australia; Cambridge University, UK; The Birthplace of Captain Cook Museum, Middlesborough, UK; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the British Museum, UK.
Selected exhibitions, etc.