Jenn Singer Gallery presents Carey Maxon: EYESIGHT, a solo exhibition of paintings & drawings by Carey Maxon, whose work is held in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) & Whitney Museum of American Art.
The Rwandan genocide, Syrian war, shooting of Amadou Diallo, sex trade, blood diamonds and the high cost of death and questions of worth of a human life are all part of the darkness held up as a mirror in Carey Maxon’s newest work.
The almost primordial imagery reflecting back to us through the paintings includes rough depictions, scribbled misspelled text, faltering lines, distorted yet almost offputtingly whimsical figures and exaggerated shape and color. These reflections are evidence of one woman's experience of a world that is loose around the edges and deeply troubled.
As Maxon explains, “the drawings naming human genocides in a broken, jumbled scrawl replete with spelling errors and word fragments are unselfconscious expressions of my own frustration in the redundant, harrowing recognition of the many corrupt layers in mass devastation. Failure to comprehend goes along with grief.”
What makes the work feel especially raw is Maxon’s crude use of pig’s blood in the palette. In addition to being an artist, life has taken Carey Maxon from her studio in Brooklyn, NY to Tuscany, Italy where she now works on an olive oil farm. Annual rituals in Tuscany include the winter pig slaughter and feast, where no part of the animal goes to waste. A deeper connection to the earth and the rawness of life through such a different lens is slowly altering the artist’s medium. Captivated by the color alone, she incorporated some of the remaining blood into her latest works. While the use of animals' blood may make some uneasy, or downright angry, it is the most honest medium one could ask for given the darkness of the subject matter.
Throughout the exhibition, Carey Maxon’s typical dot work is strewn about in some works, but then suddenly comes together in soothing order and repetition in others. The artist’s visual impressions remain high contrast, glaring and unstable and may relate to a unique visual phenomenon she has experienced since a young age. Visual snow, convergence insufficiency and optic migraines are part of her working norm. It’s not only the way she sees, but a new way of seeing, living and processing.
As Maxon states, “a reduced palette and the repeated dot on line pattern connote the most basic rhythms of life; the heartbeat and the passing of time - sensations readily available even to the blind - and a humble order from which we all descend”.