AUSTRALIAN artist Caroline Magerl is returning to Australia after exhibiting her work at the fourth annual Parallax Art Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall.
Queensland-based artist Magerl originally received her invitation to exhibit at Parallax Art Fair, described as Europe’s largest “curated” international art fair featuring thousands of works by international artists, in 2011 but was kept busy in Australia.
But when Magerl cheekily asked Parallax curator Dr Chris Barlow: “Can I be invited again next year?” Dr Barlow assented. In May 2012, Magerl packed her bags with some manageably-sized and well-protected canvasses and flew to London.
Magerl has a long history working as an illustrator, having completed 17 children’s books over 16 years in Australia and in London and knocking back an invitation to work as a political cartoonist with the Courier Mail newspaper
“I became a very good interpreter of texts,” says Magerl. “And that’s why in the end I became a good illustrator. People would feed me words and I would illustrate.”
A self-taught artist with no formal training, Magerl today combines an identifiable style of imagery and a coherent and engaging artistic narrative that overcome the brouhaha of the Chelsea Old Town Hall’s noisy milk steamer.
“I think Jung put it as ‘personal myth,’ dream as personal myth,” says Magerl, attempting to capture the themes of introspection and interiority that pervade her work.
Those myths, both real and imagined, often concern Magerl’s own unusual childhood of growing up on a yacht off the Queensland coast with her German immigrant parents.
“We didn’t really live in Australia, we lived on a boat,” Magerl recalls, explaining that the choice to live on a boat was, in some way at least, an act of deliberate isolation by her father.
Remoteness and isolation are prominent words throughout the conversation in the neo-classical setting of the Chelsea Old Town.
Magerl still remembers vivid dreams from her teenage years. The attentive artist has kept scores of diaries crammed with hastily-scribbled morning remembrances.
“When I was 14 I had a dream, really very memorable,” recalls Magerl.
“We had sailed to a place called Marble Island. The sun was shining on it in the afternoon. You could hear the sound of the anchor chain moving over the rocks. When I dreamt about that island I was in the water. The water was a deep, beautiful, golden green. I had a baby on my shoulders and my friend was swimming beside me. When I woke up, I painted it immediately.”
Drawing on the sea and the isolation of nautical itinerancies, Magerl’s work often refers to the ocean and is the fruit of much reflection. One of Magerl’s oil paintings on display at the Parallax Art Fair was The Face of St Imbecile. What looks like a large sardine sits across St Imbecile’s eyes in a work that encourages unavoidable — yet fishy – associations with Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte’s The Son of Man.
Now a converted land-lubber in the verdant town of Buderim, near the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland, Magerl has new artistic sources of inspiration.
“I’m beginning to move in another direction,” Magerl says. “Because I’ve been spending so much time on the interior aspect of imagery, the poetic, I’ve begun to do more portraits. I find people intensely interesting.”
For more information, visit Cmagerl.com.au