• Karl Maughan

Sweet flowers are slow, and weeds make haste … [i]

Gardens are perennial markers of time. There are the many hours spent on hands and knees tending to the soil; mulching, weeding, feeding, planting, and pruning. Then of course there is the slow transformation from bare earth to germination,the shoots of verdant green pushing up through the dirt, the anticipation of the first bud, and the eventual blossoming that marks the end of one season and the arrival of another.

Since the 1980s Karl Maughan has found himself absorbed by the earthly magic of the garden – his painting practice embedded in these potential sites of meditation, reflection, labour, evolution, and joy. Maughan carefully tends to these gardens in his studio, stepping back from the canvas with paintbrush in hand to consider the specific colour, texture, and pattern of all manner of flora, among them Delphiniums, Aster, Echinacea, Lupins, Camellia, and Rudbeckia.

In the artist’s painted gardens, the prevailing rules and rhythms of nature and weather and seasonal growth can be set aside, with Maughan often cultivating endemic and introduced species in an abundant and idealised amalgam of eternal spring. The artist has long presented a kind of speculative survey of regionalism through his paintings, in turn prompting consideration of those gardens of early colonial settlers and the romantic but arguably anachronistic desire to establish traditional English gardens in the Pacific.

Karl Maughan (b.1964) grew up on a farm in the Manawatu. Maughan has a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. His work is held in private and public collections internationally and in Aotearoa, including Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū; The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson; and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Notable public exhibitions include Saatchi Collection Catalogue Show at Saatchi Gallery, London, (1998), Stop Making Sense, City Gallery, Wellington (1995), Walking in Light at Vertigo Gallery, London (2003), Karl Maughan: A Clear Day at Pataka Art Gallery & Museum, Porirua (2015), and Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare MBE curates the Arts Council Collection, UK(2019). He lives and works in Pōneke Wellington.
[i] William Shakespeare, from Richard III: Act 2 Scene 4.

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  • Saturday 10am-4pm


  • 42 Victoria Street
  • Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, 6011