Elizabeth Magill

29 November 2011

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

The strength of this small collection is in the works of the 19th and 20th-century British artists, particularly significant is the small cluster of paintings by LS Lowry. If you have only seen his portraits and seascapes in published form then you may be forgiven for not comprehending quite how powerful these small canvases really are.

Elizabeth Magill grew up in Northern Ireland and now lives and works in London. She studied at the Belfast College of Art and the The Slade and has exhibited continuously since the 1980s. At times she has worked with printmaking and photography, but painting is the medium that she always returns to. Rooks is a wonderful small painting, immediately effecting. The use of colour and paint immediately conjures up the experience of land or seascape, we are not quite sure. There is an explicit sense of chill, of sound and of winter’s dwindling light.

Magill has said of the work ‘I associate a cluster of rooks to the place where I grew up. They would journey overhead back to their nests every evening – their raucous ‘caws’ sounding calamitous. While painting this work I tried to evoke this sound of a collective evening call.’

The work makes a very strong addition to the existing collection and builds consistently on the group of works that the Contemporary Art Society have gifted to the Museum over the years.


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