George Baloghy was born in Budapest in 1950 and emigrated as a child refugee to New Zealand in 1957. While studying for his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Elam in Auckland, Baloghy regularly wandered the streets of central Auckland taking pictures of building facades with a borrowed camera.
Baloghy’s interest in the city and suburbia has continued throughout his career, and his depictions of city landscapes, often painted with a quirky and ironic eye, can be considered synonymous with Auckland’s visual identity. His works often include pastiches and art historical references to artists such as Canaletto, a painter who also “chronicled” his city. Baloghy’s paintings feature a quiet humour and focus on all details of the landscape, from the spectacular to the mundane.
Baloghy’s realism is unique in that it is not a photographic likeness, but as he himself describes it, an “enhanced realism”. The distant details are sharper than they appear in real life, with the overall effect being slightly disconcerting. This is achieved by the subtle editing of elements within the composition, so that distant hills might be brought closer, or the middle distance completely erased. Nevertheless the scenes essentially remain faithful to real life and are usually instantly recognizable. George Baloghy’s scrupulous attention to detail challenges the viewer to engage with and explore the paintings, rather than merely glancing at mimetic reproductions of the landscape.
George Baloghy’s new exhibition ‘Colonial Dreaming’ is on display 17 March – 5 April 2020. All artworks in the exhibition are for sale and available to be purchased at ARTIS Gallery.