July 17, 2021
(The Artist’s Room)
Lucy Eglinton is the latest artist to add to The Artist’s Room’s impressive list of painters of magic realism. In her first South Island exhibition, Eglington has presented a series of works in oil and watercolour showing unlikely "unnatural" symbioses of birds, mammals, and insects
Several of the pieces take the symbiotic idea to the point where there seems to be a deliberate theme of cooperation and companionship between diverse groups. This perhaps reaches its culmination with the watercolour Indifferent Shores, which also has a strong message of hope in the face of climate change in its image of a coalition of small mammals being carried to the safety of a distant shore by a swimming polar bear.
The depictions are sumptuously made, and — within the limits of their strange collaborations — true to life. There is a richness to the oil works, which range from the dynamic Birds and Bees and the epic "group portrait" of After Aesop to the gentle cameo of Lost and Found. Also impressive are the watercolour works, deliberately created in a style echoing early scientific illustration, and quite possibly influenced by the seminal wildlife images of James Audubon.
There is no one stand-out work in the show, all the pieces being of equally high quality.