Justin Boroughs

New Zealand b. 1952

Justin Boroughs is highly renowned as a realist landscape painter. The landscapes he paints are always recognisable; Auckland Harbour, Rangitoto, the old boatsheds near Waterfront Road and coastline views. Even though familiar, his painted landscapes always present a point of difference from what is actual. Through the use of intense colour, altering the effects of light, and manipulating the subject matter (omitting some points of detail while emphasising others), Boroughs works portray a heightened reality.

It is a commonly held notion that realist painting offers a photographic representation of the ‘real’ subject which in Boroughs case is landscape. However, the genre of realism often encompasses what is termed as 'representation' of the actual subject where an artist’s interpretation of the real can also include references beyond what is visible. This is evident in Boroughs' works which offer the artists’ experience and interpretation of the landscape and are often infused with a strong sense of mood.

Boroughs' hand is highly evident in his paintings through his tight brush work and careful application of paint. His work becomes a vehicle for Boroughs to exercise his considerable painterly skill. He is recognised as an accomplished technician, being very considered in his compositional drafting, use of colour and rendering of form. Borough’s frequently employs photography during his working stages, which has been a common form of aide-memoir for realist artists from as early as the nineteenth century. Gottfried Lindauer and C.F Goldie were among the first New Zealand-based artists to make use of photography in preparation for their paintings.

Boroughs' work is frequently likened to the work of contemporary realist painters Graeme Sydney and Peter Siddell. Like Boroughs, these artists choose to focus on landscapes that are familiar to them. Boroughs' choice of landscape is vital to the success of his work. His realist depiction of localised landscapes also links his work to the tradition of realism, developed in New Zealand by artists such as Christopher Heaphy and Rita Angus.

Boroughs' paintings are held in major public and corporate collections including the Manawatu Art Gallery, Telecom New Zealand, Fletcher Challenge, and in private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

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