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Project Ongoing


The “Hypertexture Paintings” are an ongoing series of intensely textured abstractions that utilizes a repeating and meditative approach of overpainting surfaces with tens of thousands of interwoven brushstrokes, applied in superimposed layers to create each final picture. 

This lush series of colorfully saturated paintings began in the mid-1990’s, when Maxwell initially invented the technique and began exhibiting at commercial galleries in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Houston.  As he continued into the 2000’s, his surfaces began to increase in complexity, and in the present the artist has included overpainting a variety of other works, incorporating excess palette paint and refurbishing panels for enhanced sustainability.

Overt in their physicality, these seemingly monochromatic surfaces reveal a wide array of colors and hues in their deeply embedded structures.  Paintings have been titled in some instances according to their most prominent final pigments, as in “Vermillion,” “Lemon,” “Lapis Lazuli,” and others in a play on the romantic and often humorous titles given to color paint samples provided by manufacturers one often finds in hardware stores, such as “Love’s Frost,” “Heron Blue,” etc.

Writing for Art in America, critic Ann Wilson-Lloyd highlighted these “large, impastoed, organic abstract paintings by Maxwell Stevens”[1] and art critic Jeff Daniel described the paintings as “so wonderfully thick that the square piece resembles a futuristic piece of plastic sod.”[2]  Reviewer Brian Smith went further,

An impressive feature is in how their shadows are cast within the rippled surfaces of the paintings themselves, and beyond the perimeter of each picture as it hangs on the wall.  This design element came by way of the artist continually layering his brushstrokes and extending this process along and around each of the pictures’ edges, and in custom designing unique panels which he builds and prepares himself.


In the 1990’s Maxwell was influenced by the tactile minimalist paintings of contemporary masters such as Robert Ryman, the visual repetitions of Agnes Martin[3] and by strategies of neoconceptual artists, especially Sherrie Levine’s “Meltdown” series, in which she distilled representations of iconic modern art works to a severely reductionist color scheme.  Around this time, he was also introduced to Chinese Scholar’s Rocks, many of which he was able to see in person in the exhibition “Spirit Stones of China” at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1999.[4] Their naturally pocketed, contemplative surfaces, formed over long stretches of time, he began emulating through his uniquely painted textures.

Contrary to these influences, however, is Maxwell’s insistence on the direct experience of vibrant color, variability of handheld brushstroke, surface play, and texture, albeit to an exaggerated degree and without conveying any recognizably associated image.

1. Lloyd, Ann Wilson. “Art under the Arch, Report from Saint Louis.” Art in America, July 2001.


2. Daniel, Jeff. “Artist makes ordinary take on extraordinary look” The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. Sunday, August 27, 2000. Group Exhibition Review.


3. Smith, Brian. “East and West Inform the Abstractions of Maxwell Stevens.” The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. Sunday, October 8, 2000. Exhibition Review.


4. “Spirit Stones of China: The Ian and Susan Wilson Collection of Chinese Stones, Paintings, and Related Scholars’ Objects,” organized by The Art Institute of Chicago and presented from May 1 – August 1, 1999.


"HYPERTEXTURE PAINTINGS" is ongoing.  Works are available and can be shipped internationally.  For inquiries please contact NYC Studio Showroom directly at:

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