04 Aug 2016
— Objects in your art works presence like figures or we could say objects and the way that they perch are more important than the beauty of your figures. why?and if you aren’t agree describe your reason.
I agree. I was looking for a simple way of presenting a figure or active presence within the scenes I create and the way I’ve found generally removes painting characters with different personalities. The anonymity of the figures becomes a source of tension or unease, possibly.
I remember a couple of years ago myself and a few of my friends went to an exhibition in Swansea and there were three large paintings by this artist who had painted her own face very delicately but the expressions on the faces were the most sickeningly earnest, terrifying examples of self portraiture I’ve ever seen. Those paintings are supposedly “beautiful” but it all depends on how you approach it.
— It seems that reality has collapsed in your work. Or in other words every thing has Melted in your art work and we could say figures has lost their objectivity more than other. what’s the reason of this vanishing?
I want to offer an example of what an object or situation is. I try to paint the “essence” of what an object is, disregarding specifics. When the painting comes together these shortcuts or distillations in representing each object or figure culminate in a painted environment that is more psychological than literal.
A friend of mine talks about my work in terms of each painting being a different room in a hotel, as you walk down the corridor you get snap moments of seeing in to each room and you’re left with an impression that taps in to a mood, this seems accurate.
— By the study of various periods of your work in these years i can find that you create the human like silhouette in the same way. in other words your change their beauty or you vanish them and then create them in other template. why and how do you do that?
To give some context, I went through a period of making abstract paintings. I convinced myself that soaking sheets of paper in coffee and strawberry milkshake powder was interesting. I then started trying to paint my thumb because when I bend it a certain way it looks like a happy face and my girlfriend at the time found it a laughable idea.
I get bored with what I’m painting relatively quickly so once I’d spent maybe a year trying to crowbar my painted thumb in to all my work I wanted to push it in a different direction. I’d built up a language with the paint and I knew I could make paintings that were odd but not necessarily very good so I started to try and paint, fairly prolifically, my surroundings and events happening around me in quite a boring and straightforward way. The boredom seemed poignant for some reason.
It was at this point that a few things clicked at the same time. I was introduced to the work of Philip Guston and I’d found the painting by René Magritte called “Les Amants”, I also discovered wood varnish and black household gloss as new materials to paint with but the thing that tied it together was this experience;
I was living in a shared house and one morning I walked from my room to the downstairs kitchen and living room. I made myself a bowl of cereal then sat down on the sofa. It was sunny outside but cold with that kind of light that seems to bleach things. I knew I was sitting next to a bin bag but ignored it at first. When I turned to examine it though there was a note on it that my housemate had written as a joke and it said “Help, I’m a small boy and I can’t get out”. I experienced this jolt of horror and dread as, with the note in mind, I suddenly recognised the black bin bag as a child curled up with his head between his legs and his arms wrapped around his shins.
It obviously turned out to be some rubbish but it was the heightened moment of adrenaline, where ones senses are switched in to overdrive coupled with domestic settings that fascinated me. The horror within the every day or something like that.
This was when I began painting the silhouette or covered bin bag figure and it’s carried on through into these featureless fleshy characters I’m using at the moment, they just aren’t wearing a bin bag, so to speak.
— To overview on your art works i found that society and it’s matters is an consequential concern for you. in other words humans relations have special shape in your works, could you explain these relations for me?
That’s more true of my recent paintings. I work reactively to what’s happening around me perhaps even to a point where it’s dull to talk about as it’s such a literal processing. I saw a bin bag that looked like a child was in it. It scared me. I started painting bin bags…
Recently I witnessed someone getting stabbed with a Stanley knife in the middle of the performance cafe I work for. Now my paintings have a stronger narrative with this misanthropic spine running through, quite obviously a reaction to the experience I had.
The human relations you’re talking about, for me are always based in some personal anxiety. The figures are projections of this you could argue.
Despite all of my planning and intent however, something has to happen in the handling of the paint and the way I show work, for mistakes and for something else to be let in, in fact I’m almost willing things to fail sometimes in the hope that new things will arise.
— Max ‘’Hole’’ is an important object in a special period of your work, the ‘’Hole’’ drags the humans. Where does ‘’Holes’’ come from?
I spent two months in China on an artist residency and I brought with me a book by Gilles Deleuze, “Francis Bacon: The Logic Of Sensation”. I found his analysis of “Figure at a washbasin” interesting, he talks about how the basin acts as a kind of portal between figuration and the colour field in the painting. The figure is returning to paint, which is why it is disfigured and contorted, like it’s being sucked through a point which we as the viewer can’t see. I was trying to explore that idea by always having one point within the painting that acted as a source of gravity, something providing suction, usually in the centre as well as veiling off other parts of the painting.
Although I’ve moved away from this idea now, what I learned by exploring it was how to create environments that hold a dynamic sense of space, how to place the viewer within the painting and hopefully force them to negotiate it.
— Max i wanna know a little about your life, how is your relation with literature? do you read novel or poet ? which books do you prefer ?
Existentialist works by Albert Camus and Franz Kafka’s novels have had an effect on my work, certainly. There’s a bit in “The Plague” that maybe I’ve made up and embellished in my mind, as I can’t find the quote in the book, but it goes something like “once people get used to waiting they are able to wait for longer”. I intend the same kind of hopelessness and frustration to resonate in my newer paintings.
I read a lot of comics when I was growing up and I know that it’s always there in my work but I suppose recently I’ve been trying to make work that is more serious.
It’s not a particularly new or interesting combination of things to be inspired by but whilst making the newer paintings I was reading through Kafka’s novels, “The Trial”, “The Castle” and “Amerika” and watching David Lynch’s films, which might go to some way of explaining the sort of mood I was looking to present.
I also have to say, I was playing “Final Fantasy 6” on my iPhone in between painting and the artwork and story in it have the same feel to it as when I was reading “The Castle”. The main antagonist is even called ‘Kefka’.
— Please describe a little about your life style and your work place conditions.
I live in my studio in Brighton. There is a community of artists in Brighton producing work and collaborating like no where else I’ve been and there are two galleries, “Neue Froth Kunsthalle” and “Community Arts Centre” showing work and providing a platform for artists, which are run with a level of rigour and thought that most galleries lack.
I also work for “Hunt and Darton Cafe” as their chef, which is a functioning cafe that offers performance art to customers, run by artists. It has been my time working for the cafe that has made my new work more concerned with groups of people.
— Max your art works have a tragic view to our life in this era : critical view to various situations. how much do you think about this critical view in your art works?
That’s only one aspect of the work. In terms of theme at the moment it’s perhaps slightly disparaging of human activity but it’s always coupled with humour or generosity within the actual painting.
Last year I did an exhibition where I filled the room with party balloons and Maltesers and played 90s pop songs slowed down as an environment for a painting. There was some tragedy but not only.
For the first time my work is actively looking outwards and I’m perhaps too involved at the moment to effectively analyse what is happening. The analysis might happen in a year from now when I’ll look back and see what was going on.
— Thanks for spending your time to this interview.