Artword Gallery, 15 Colbourne Street, from November 5 to 30: paintings with figures by Maureen Paxton, a Toronto artist recently relocated to Hamilton. Open reception with the artist Friday November 6 from 5 to 7 pm. Gallery hours Thurs to Sat 2 to 5 pm (also open during all Artword Artbar hours). Maureen will be present during Friday November 13th, James North Art Crawl, from 7 to 10 pm
MAUREEN PAXTON: STATEMENT for ARTWORD GALLERY
“I paint and draw the figure or ciphers for the figure because that€™s how I can best explore relationships between how we see and how we seem. I am interested in the idea of self; its spaces, silences, concatenations, concealments, denials and affirmations. The moment-to-moment concept of self, I think, is based primarily on prepositions, an amalgam of emotional, intellectual and physical. That is, we are constantly navigating and however loosely, measuring. We are the back of, in front of, beside, under, on top of, beside and so on. Being fluid, whatever we sense ourselves to be, constructs and reconstructs itself around who sense we are, who we would like to be, who we sense others sense us to be.
I had intended that the paintings feel like poems (sometimes) and, at other times, like theatrical moments. Both situations refer to transitional states of mind and being. In many of the paintings, the subjects seem to be looking out beyond the picture plane and aware of being looked at. Or are waiting to be looked at. They return the gaze, something we all do as many times in the day as we may be in the company of other people. It€™s the interval between the looker and the looked-at that I am primarily interested in and attempting to explore through painting and drawing. In theatre, that interval might be described as the fourth wall, the invisible limen or threshold between actor and audience. It€™s the place where we mysteriously and subtly create each other.
We invent ourselves and also invent each other. In every way, the work is about the brute act of €˜looking.€™
The work in the exhibition spans almost two decades. I€™ve allowed myself to play with a stylistic spectrum between abstraction and realism. I often photograph friends and family and then, in translating into paint, begin the job of re-shaping my models into small dramatic acts. There have been times I have photographed myself. I often investigate what some people might consider the €˜grotesque;€™ for me, the grotesque has its own kind of beauty or truth to tell. Two of the paintings were cut out of older paintings and grafted onto new canvases. In short, the visual work is where I play. The painting and drawing is very much a mirror, both for me, the artist and for the viewer. We all make faces at each other.”