Behind the Silhouette
Every day across a multitude of platforms, screens, signs, and printed materials, we are confronted by the preconceived notion of femininity or the feminine ideal. Magazine covers, billboards, posters, and ads all attempt to sell their product by capturing the male gaze and exploiting primal fears and desires. Artist Jane Maxwell addresses this constant inundation of data in the age of information in works that explore identity and the female form through the medium of paper collage and the classic motif of the female silhouette. JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present a collection of Maxwell's recent works that explore the dichotomy between visual language, perception, and the written word through the use of both current and iconic images.
The medium of collage became popularized in conjunction with the development of early stages of modernism during the early twentieth century. It was first favored for both its versatility as well as accessibility by Picasso and Braque and became popular amongst the Surrealists. Bits of newspaper and other ephemera found in such works provide a telling portrait of an artist's studio practice, current events, as well as other pieces of socio-cultural information. Maxwell's works on panel create a direct dialogue with this history of collage as a timestamp, utilizing torn sheets of paper taken directly from city walls, enshrining revealing moments in the history of time.
Physically, the works both enshroud as well as expose the human form as figures emerge or sink into the surrounding elements, their silhouettes outlined in stark black. The works have a sculptural feel through the sheer physicality of material, which is layered and then cut and peeled into distinctive female silhouettes. Areas of readable text emerge from the placement of numbers, letters and words that work together to create lyrical passages that are hauntingly familiar yet unplaceable. Maxwell's works on panel are of myriad complexities in both form and visual language as the shifting imagery synthesizes new meanings through various readings, becoming itself a symbol to the subjectivity of our individual inward gaze.
Jane Maxwell's work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you're sure to find the right artistic expression!