Maxwell Stevens: Paintings
Presented by Thomas Werner Gallery
September 2, 2006- October 1, 2006
Reception: September 7, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thomas Werner Gallery is pleased to announce the New York debut solo exhibition of paintings by Maxwell Stevens. Paintings presents six works in oil on canvas from 2006, wherein carefully composed renderings of amateur erotic video stills have been overpainted with flowing brushstrokes and impastoed elements of landscape-inspired abstraction. Immersive and confrontational, the paintings oscillate between eroticized figuration and painterly abstraction, melding two distinctly unique, yet equally complex manners of painting into one. It is within this dual space that these images reverberate, raising pertinent questions regarding contemporary representations of sexual intimacy, the mercurial role of abstraction, and how we as individuals assume the oft times violent and sublime aspects of nature.
The influential Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote in his treatise Toward an Impure Poetry that “those who shun the ‘bad taste’ of things will fall flat on the ice.” Stevens’s paintings might be seen as gesturing toward an impure painting, one that, not unlike Neruda’s ecstatic poetry, reveals an unexpected beauty and grace of the banal in the face of the sublime. These paintings offer us, through their sheer dissonances and unexpected harmonies, a sense of prescient inquiry that invites the viewer to look upon them freely and unselfconsciously, while at the same time reflecting on some of the difficult issues facing representation and abstraction today.
Maxwell Stevens grew up in Florida and now lives and works in New York City. He earned an MFA in Painting from the School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis in 1995, and a BFA in Painting from The Atlanta College of Art in 1993. He has exhibited in group shows at Thomas Werner Gallery, New York, NY, Artists Space, New York, NY, PS122, New York, NY, and in solo and group exhibitions in Miami, Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Washington DC. He has a forthcoming solo show at Devin Borden-Hiram Butler Gallery in Houston in 2007.
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