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Justin Boroughs


Tue 1 Jul 2008–Fri 25 Jul 2008, 10:00am

Where: John Leech Gallery, Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Sts, Auckland CBD

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: johnleechgallery

“People use the word romantic, but a lot say my work is semi-surrealist. These are places people go and know, but somehow I’ve done something slightly different…I don’t see much point in copying the landscape exactly as it is. You could take a photograph there and save a lot of time and trouble. But a photograph never, ever, ever gives you a true idea of the landscape.” - Artist’s statement, 1996

One of only a small number of contemporary realist painters, the works of Auckland based landscape painter Justin Boroughs are characterised by fine draughtsmanship, meticulous technique, evocative use of light, and particularly a focus on well-known locations and landscapes around New Zealand. Boroughs will exhibit new paintings at John Leech gallery 1 - 25 July 2008.

In this new collection of works, harbour and coastal scenes dominate. Each panorama depicts familiar locations in and around the Hauraki Gulf, Karekare West Auckland, Maungakiekie (formerly One Tree Hill) Auckland and Karaka Bay, Wellington. Rather than being quaint tourist images, these paintings are hyper real interpretations which effectively capture the atmospheric conditions and subtle variances in light and shade that fluctuate according to the time of day. Although devoid of figures, signs of human presence are evident within the compositions, most typically in the form of boats, houses, churches or boatsheds.

Boroughs’ is in a sense, re-ordering the world, re-presenting it to the viewer as a somewhat romanticised, nostalgic even Arcadian environment. This is achieved in part by composing his works in keeping with many of the ideals of classical painters (he cites Poussin as a major influence). Here, Boroughs seeks balance and harmony in the construction of his paintings, which affect in the viewer a profound sense of equanimity. Combining a mixture of realist conventions including detailed observation and idealisation, the artist also employs a luminous palette and high key lighting to produce works of exceptional clarity.

A student at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland between 1971 and 1975, Boroughs studied under Gretchen Albrecht, Don Binney and John Turner. He initially worked as a photographer which may have informed his decision to eventually paint in a photo realist tradition. His photographs were published in Photo-Forum and some were included in the Active Eye exhibition, Manawatu Art Gallery. After travelling extensively, painting and living throughout Europe he returned to New Zealand in 1981 where he began dual a career as a painter and an art teacher. He is currently head of the art department at Auckland Boys Grammar School.

Borough’s paintings are held in major public and corporate collections including the Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North, Telecom NZ and Fletcher Challenge, and in private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

For further information please email

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