For more than 50 years, prolific designer and visual artist Max Hurley shared his prodigious talent with Queensland audiences and theatre makers.
From ballets and operas to years of fondly remembered Christmas windows at Myer Valley and Queen Street stores, his work has brought joy to thousands of people.
Here at QPAC we love to showcase all artforms, and it gives us great joy to activate spaces outside the theatres to bring art and design to all who visit. As a public thoroughfare the QPAC tunnel is wonderfully accessible and is open morning to night almost every day of the year.
Until March 2023, the QPAC tunnel is home to Max Hurley: A designer’s life – an exhibition celebrating the life and work of the renowned Queensland stage designer.
QPAC’s Exhibitions Manager Maria Cleary has curated an exhibition that showcases Max Hurley’s extraordinary theatrical legacy and his contribution to the arts, in Queensland and beyond.
“We were inspired by the quality, quantity, and variety of Max’s creative work, and how well loved he was by everyone who worked with him,” she said.
“We wanted to recognise and share his extraordinary theatrical legacy through set, costume and graphic design, his involvement with pivotal moments in Queensland theatrical history, his fine art practice and demonstrated capacity to sustain a long and successful career as a creative practitioner."
“Much (but not all!) of Max’s work is inherently colourful and playful. As a fine artist, Max is recognised as a 'Fantastic Realist', painting mythical and imaginative subjects in a realistic style, often with theatrical overtones. There is great attention to detail and vibrant use of colour. It is exciting to see it beam with prominence in the tunnel," she said.
As Max’s work lives in the heart and minds of audiences across generations, Maria suggests there is several reasons it resonates well.
“There is a certain liveliness to Max’s work. It is very approachable, very well put together, often witty, and always satisfyingly complete. These enduring qualities draw people in and give them great enjoyment.”
And when it comes to the matter of her favourite work, Maria says it is a hard one to narrow down.
“With so much to choose from, this is a such a difficult question! With that said, Max Hurley's set and costume designs as they were realised by Brisbane City Youth Ballet for its production of The Nutcracker are a standout for me.”
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