Brian Maguire

Brian Maguire: In The Light Of Conscience

Brian Maguire
In The Light Of Conscience

Du 3 mars au 13 août 2022
Missoula Art Museum, Missoula (US)


Brian Maguire is an Irish artist whose work stems from his involvement in the civil rights movement of Northern Ireland in the 1970s. In his work, Maguire draws attention to marginalized voices by occupying a role as facilitator, which he is uniquely careful not to exploit. 

Brian Maguire: In the Light of Conscience is an overview of Maguire's human rights-focused paintings and includes important loans from the Tia Collection in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fergus McCaffrey Gallery in New York City, the Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin, and collectors Christian Groenke and Gulia Bruckmann. Exhibition support comes from Culture Ireland and the Fergus McCaffrey Gallery, with community support from the Williams family of Missoula, Chris Comer, and Linda Gazzola. 

Important notice: This exhibition contains images that may be upsetting to some viewers. Some paintings reference human rights abuses, graphic images of war, and human remains. The exhibition, the artist, and the Missoula Art Museum do not celebrate, promote, or condone hate or violence towards any group of people. This exhibition is presented to promote dialogue and understanding. 





Maguire tripped the museum’s radar as a visitor to the nearby town of Hope, Idaho, and in 2020, MAM staff invited Maguire to participate in a curatorial research project funded by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. The project was designed to investigate how the museum might present an exhibition around the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP). Maguire parlayed a 2021 Fulbright Scholarship into a journey from Ireland to Missoula and an artist residency at MAM specifically for this work. 

An epidemic of MMIP is taking place across the United States and Canada. Thousands of men, women, and children go missing or are murdered each year and the web of federal, state, local, and Tribal jurisdictions often complicate these cases. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland created a Missing and Murdered Unit taskforce within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to tackle the issue in 2021. Missoula, adjacent to the Flathead Reservation, within a short distance of the Blackfeet Reservation, and host to a significant Native urban population residing within the city, was an ideal place for Maguire to conduct research on this topic. He has applied his subtle, sensitive, humanitarian approach to the plight of MMIP by meeting with families of the missing individuals.

Maguire’s artistic response to the political and racial content inherent in the topic has informed the development of an exhibition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists with the goal of bringing greater awareness to the topic and leading to a better institutional response. MAM has planned two exhibitions of the artist’s work over the next two years. In the Light of Conscience, which provides a cross-section of his major series. An upcoming exhibition in 2023 will feature featuring his MMIP portraits from across Montana. 




Starting in 2010, the artist has created work in Juárez, Mexico, in response to the proliferation of murdered and missing women in the wake of the Mexican drug war (a practice known as Feminicidio). Maguire’s efforts have been profiled in Blood Rising, a 2013 documentary co-produced with Mark McLoughlin. This has led him to spend extensive amounts of time in the U.S.-Mexico border region, especially in Arizona. During his travels, he has met with local artists, activists, and even the Chief Medical Examiner for Pima County, Ariz.

In 2017, Maguire spent time in Aleppo, Syria, and created an entire body of work cataloging the devastation of the city after years of war. In 2018, he traveled with a humanitarian aid organization to Bentiu, South Sudan, to create portraits of refugees and displaced peoples. By visiting and listening with families of displaced or missing peoples and working with professionals on the frontlines of these migratory and geopolitical issues, Maguire harnesses a journalist's attention to detail and humanity with his immense artistic talent. These paintings are profound in their subject matter and masterfully executed in expressionist forms. "Brian allows the paint to do what it does best," said Brandon Reintjes, senior curator at MAM. 

Mars 18, 2022