“AUTUMN LEAVES” NEW PAINTINGS
October 1 – November 14, 2021
Opening Reception: Friday, October 8, 6 - 8 pm
NEW YORK - ONETWENTYEIGHT is pleased to present MAXWELL STEVENS “AUTUMN LEAVES” a new suite of oil paintings centering around an impromptu ensemble of musicians practicing together at New York City’s famed Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. Initially conceived and begun prior to the pandemic, the series was further refined and elaborated upon while the artist was quarantined in his NYC studio, serving as a meditation on cultural diversity and the positive social interaction that is one of the defining characteristics of New York.
Interrelationships between painting, music, and the seasons have long drawn associations in world culture and art. Abstract painting in particular, has had numerous comparisons made to music since Kandinsky’s groundbreaking “Improvisations” and “Compositions” series, and alternately, various musicians such as Vivaldi have created their own compositions based upon the seasons, while inspired by the landscape paintings of Marco Ricci. By combining emotive abstractions with representational clarity, Maxwell delves inside this relationship and makes it explicit. In rhythmic improvisations of lemon yellows, emerald greens and oxblood reds, vivid smears and gestures overtake the meticulously detailed portraits of the musicians themselves, with images alternating between the spatial depths of crisp autumn park scenes and fluid, glassy designs of pure abstract form.
In the large central panel ”Autumn Leaves, Rehearsal at Bethesda Fountain” measuring 6’ x 8’, a young violinist gazes out at the viewer from beneath undulating movements of lime green and autumn gold. As her companions focus intently on the musical score at hand, a wedding rehearsal is underway with bridesmaids laughing in the background. In the upper right corner, the artist has included Emma Stebbins’ magnificent sculpture, in reverence to the first female artist to have a public work commissioned in NYC, the bronze angel looming over the lively scene.
The happenstance nature of how we collect in the city’s public spaces is evident throughout the series, as background characters shift from random tourists to friends and families relaxing outside, yet they retain the tensions of unpredictability that underlie city life. In paintings such as “Blue Dancer” and “Drum Circle, Central Park” performers interact directly with passersby, the dynamic abstractions sliding across the images creating their own hybrid scores, while eliciting the unpredictable nature of improvisation in art, music, and life.
Maxwell Stevens was born in Charleston, South Carolina (USA) in 1971. He received an MFA in Painting from the School of Art at Washington University in Saint Louis in 1995, and a BFA in Painting from The Atlanta College of Art in 1993. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited extensively and internationally in contemporary venues from Tokyo to Dallas to New York. His paintings & projects have been featured in several publications including The Museum of Modern Art Monthly Bulletin, New York, NY, Wall Street International Magazine, Arte Fuse, NYArts Magazine, Fine Arts Connoisseur, Art Papers, and Art in America.
MAXWELL STEVENS "AUTUMN LEAVES" NEW PAINTINGS is on view from October 1 through November 21, 2021, with an artist's reception Friday, October 8, 2021, 6-8 pm.
For inquiries please contact the gallery at email@example.com, +1.212.674.0244, +1.646.341.0175.