PHOTOS

Site Window, NYC, 07.07.2021
Site Window, NYC, 07.07.2021

Photograph (Archival Pigment Print)

press to zoom
Site Window, NYC, 07.26.2021
Site Window, NYC, 07.26.2021

Photograph (Archival Pigment Print)

press to zoom
Site Window, NYC, 07.28.2021
Site Window, NYC, 07.28.2021

Photograph (Archival Pigment Print)

press to zoom
Site Window, NYC, 07.07.2021
Site Window, NYC, 07.07.2021

Photograph (Archival Pigment Print)

press to zoom

MAXWELL STEVENS

 

Walls and Windows, NYC

 

“Where is everyone?” This was the question that haunted me in the darkest days of the pandemic, as I walked to and from my studio in NYC.  With only the occasional ambulance eerily passing by, often in silence.  Aside from the collective cheers and banging of pots and pans that erupted at 7pm sharp each evening, it seemed New York City had become the unthinkable, a ghost town.  As an artist who has worked exclusively in painting and drawing for many years, I’ve often turned to personal photos and snapshots as both source material and inspiration for my imagery.  But now there wasn’t anyone to photograph.  On those walks time seemed to slow down, maybe because I wasn’t in a hurry.  I did, however, begin to take notice of the traces of human activity here and there, reflected in windows and scrawled on city walls in the form of graffiti and torn posters from events now passed…as movie theatres, concert halls, even Broadway itself was now closed.  This naturally occurring décollage evolved with time, as fewer and fewer events were being advertised, visual change at the hands of time turning this endless tableau into something that read to me as continuously “painterly”.

      The photos I began taking on these walks were not intended to be art at all, rather as casual documents of what I was seeing around me.  Unedited, un-aestheticized and raw depictions of the gritty new reality that composed our environs in NYC.  This evolving state of decay and potential rebirth is where we currently are at this moment, a city that is confident that renewal is coming yet plagued with senseless violence, homelessness and drug abuse that makes sites for many of my photos (the subway) not a very safe place to make art.  As the pandemic began to subside, and activities increased, concert halls and museums filling back up, older layers of peeling paint and graffiti are covered by new coats of paint, new posters for live events, which are coated with even newer layers of graffiti, my project has evolved from something that began with a few simple snapshots of interesting surfaces to hundreds of pictures mirroring the interplay of abstraction and representation that has been the primary focus of my painting practice as it now continues to evolve, informed by these images and the time they document.

 

-Artist's Statement, 2022