Bright Nights: The City as Muse for John “CRASH” Matos and Jane Maxwell

Joanne Artman Gallery
Mar 9, 2018 7:56PM

Much as artists turn to the human figure or to the classical arrangement of the still life to provide them with a grounding framework in exploring their chosen medium, inspiration can be found in the most basic premises of everyday life. The idea of the urban metropolis is verdant ground for providing the texture, character and setting for numerous iconic works in literature, film, and the visual arts. City life, as well as the visual impact of towering skyscrapers, sprawling avenue blocks and the grid-like maze of streets has inspired generations of artists who have lived and worked in gotham city. Like the Impressionists who studied the changing qualities of light over the natural landscape, emphasizing human experience and perception, artists John “CRASH” Matos and Jane Maxwell utilize aspects of the urban landscape as a source of inspiration in both subject and material.

Joanne Artman Gallery

A native Nuyorcian, John “CRASH” Matos learned the potential of New York City walls at an early age as he and his crew bombed (or spray painted) their way through the Bronx as part of the early 70’s graffiti subculture. Though graffiti at the time centered primarily on innovating typography, CRASH was soon working on large-scale murals that took even better advantage of  New York real estate, pushing the boundaries of what graffiti could be. CRASH’s contribution to the graffiti art movement is both as an artist, as well as a curator (having organized one of the first graffiti art exhibitions in 1980 to international acclaim). His bright, vibrant canvases resonate with expressive force, conjuring the brightness of New York City nights, while slick lines and a tight composition evoke the vibrating energy of the city that never sleeps. In Abracadabra there is a real sense of urgency and motion, of events unfolding in real-time, while the color-palette echoes both the winking brightness of fresh neon signs as well as the bright patchwork of colors of a subway newsstand.

Jane Maxwell
Blue and Black Billboard
Joanne Artman Gallery

Artist Jane Maxwell is based in Boston, Massachusetts, but her works on panel incorporate found paper ephemera from newspapers, billboard signs and other advertisements from metropolitan areas around the world to create intricate works of texture and line. Maxwell’s compositions focus on the female form - svelte figures that seem conjured out of the collaged surface, clothed in the vestiges of yesterday’s headlines. Anonymous, the figures poses are our evidence of character and mood as they strut, stroll, and linger with the easy grace of the everyday commuter, on familiar terms with each step. Maxwell utilizes the collected ephemera in a manner that echoes its eventual deterioration if left undisturbed on city walls - a loving tribute to the accidental beauty of happenstance, elevating the sublime inherent even in the most quotidian details.

Jane Maxell and John "CRASH" Matos are represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery  New York  ||  Laguna Beach

511 A West 22nd St, New York NY 10011  ||  326 North Coast HWY, Laguna Beach CA 92651  ||  949-510-5481

Joanne Artman Gallery