Barry Maxwell, a Seattle-based artist, plays with the abstract elements of line, form, and color. Using a hard-edge graphic painting style layered with one containing soft drippy washes and finely drawn lines, the images draw upon the juxtaposition of the natural versus the unnatural. Maxwell addresses the contradiction between flatness and illusion to suggest a disoriented context.
The paintings “You’re ghostin’ us” and “The Long Count” (see image below) are reminiscent of landscapes, with the nuanced brown washes representing the ground, and the hard-edged brightly colored lines suggesting slitted light coming from an urban environment. Colony, Cloud City, Gathering of the Argonauts, and Cutaway contain hard-edged graphical organic shapes in bright earth colors reminiscent of life’s beginnings – an embryo, an opening egg, an umbilical cord. Incipient organisms existing within a world largely devoid of color, highly suggestive of soot, ashes and other types of pollution.
Maxwell works on paper, layering opaque acrylic shapes over translucent acrylic ink washes. He is inspired by topography, geology, architecture, science-fiction, cartography, and historical handwriting systems. Recently, the artist had an exhibit at the Summer Salon (July 27 – August 31, 2013) at the Circa Gallery in Minneapolis, MN. For more of his work, see his website.