Page 1

THE DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE MAX GIMBLETT

GOW LANGSFORD GALLERY - LORNE STREET & GOW LANGSFORD GALLERY AT JOHN LEECH GALLERY - KITCHENER STREET AUCKLAND

2-26 FEBRUARY 2011


THE DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE BY ANNA JACKSON “Then swiftly, neatly, with the grace of the young man on the trapeze, he was gone from his body. For an eternal moment he was still all things at once: the bird, the fish, the rodent, the reptile, and man”. William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and Other Stories (1934)

There is a moment at the circus in which time is suspended. The audience, perhaps hesitant to watch, collectively holds its breath as the performer lets go of his trapeze. In this fleeting act of bravery the audience is held hostage, caught between knowing and not knowing the fate of their performer. It is in these moments of uncertainty that time appears to stand still and it is as if all our hopes and fears, everything and nothing, become simultaneously one. Borrowing from the title of William Saroyan’s seminal text, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), Max Gimblett celebrates the spectacle of everyday existence in this new body of work. For Gimblett, time is circular, it both expands and contracts1 and, fittingly, his recent paint-


ings emanate a youthfulness that belies his seventy-five years. Although continuing with elements that have defined his practice over the past five decades, in The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze flamboyant colours are fused with his often reticent surfaces and geometric patterns sit alongside his vivacious brushwork. While Gimblett’s inspiration is vast and wide ranging, and has developed from both Western and Eastern philosophical traditions, Zen philosophy is particularly pertinent to his method of spontaneous mark making. Like the man who is momentarily stranded as he lets go of his trapeze, it is in the moment of escape from his consciousness that Gimblett executes the ‘all mind/no mind’ technique for which he has become widely recognised. But unlike the trapeze artist Gimblett’s paintings are not rehearsed. In a wholly intuitive moment, Gimblett responds instinctively and seemingly mercilessly to his surfaces, creating exaggerated and gregarious brush strokes. Perhaps ironically, Gimblett’s association with Buddhism gives these gestures a paradoxical reading as they become both a unique impression left by the artist, and egoless. For Gimblett the exhibiting space is sacred and engaging his viewer, both visually and spiritually, has long been a priority. His work seems to acknowledge that art has the capacity to reveal something about both nature and ourselves, and as such becomes a refuge for those seeking sustenance.2 Gimblett’s paintings are as much artworks as a philosophy and in these works there is a sense of an abundance and richness of life. Gimblett is no young man but in these works he is, perhaps, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze. “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough”.3

1 Yau, J. (2002) ‘Going Forth’, Max Gimblett, Craig Potton Publishing in association with Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland. p.103 2 As discussed in ibid 3 Saroyan, W. (1934) The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and Other Stories, New Directions Classic, New York. Preface.


The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, Japanese Chartreuse colored silver leaf, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 70 x 70 x 2� (177.8 x 177.8 x 5.1 cm)


Dragon King 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, aquasize, and Swiss gold leaf on canvas 90 x 90 x 3� (228.6 x 228.6 x 7.6 cm)


Orpheus and Eurydice 2007 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, iridescent silver fine, epoxy, aquasize, and palladium leaf on canvas 90 x 90 x 3� (228.6 x 228.6 x 7.6 cm)


The Darkest Night 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, and Swiss gold leaf on canvas 25 x 25 x 2� (63.5 x 63.5 x 5.1 cm)


The Silver Chariot - After Kandinsky 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, marble dust, aquasize, palladium leaf, oil size, various Japanese colored silver leaves, Swiss gold leaf, and copper leaf on wood panel 40 x 40 x 2� (101.6 x 101.6 x 5.1 cm)


I Have Seen Many Wives in this World of Men and None so Beautiful as She 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, Japanese Heron colored silver leaf, moon gold leaf, Swiss gold leaf, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 40 x 40 x 2� (101.6 x 101.6 x 5.1 cm)


Multi-colored Garment 2010 gesso, epoxy, oil size, various Japanese colored silver leaves, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 60 x 60 x 2� (152.4 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm)


Jaguar - in Memoriam - After Sigmar Polke 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, and Swiss gold leaf on canvas 60 x 60 x 2� (152.4 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm)


Princess Grace 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, and Swiss gold leaf on wood panel 30 x 60 x 2� (72.2 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm)


The Touch Between Man and God - 2 2008/09 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, mica, epoxy, aquasize, palladium leaf, gelatin, silver leaf, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel (edge gilded) 12 x 24 x 2� (30.5 x 61 x 5.1 cm)


The Princess Mnemosyne 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, Swiss gold leaf, and aluminum leaf on canvas 25 x 25 x 2� (63.8 x 63.8 x 5.1 cm)


The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse Homage to Sigmar Polke & Salvador Dali 2010 gesso, epoxy, oil size, various Japanese colored silver leaves, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 50 x 50 x 2� (127 x 127 x 5.1 cm)


Into the Looking Glass 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, Swiss gold leaf and aluminum leaf on canvas 25 x 25 x 2� (63.8 x 63.8 x 5.1 cm)


The Four Ways of Knowing 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, gelatin, and Swiss gold leaf on wood panel 60 x 60 x 2� (152.4 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm)


Silver Stream 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, silver leaf, and clear acrylic overcoat on canvas 25 x 25 x 2” (63.8 x 63.8 x 5.1 cm)

Monastery of Joy 2010 gesso, canvas, red bole clay, and red gold leaf on wood panel 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)

My Silent Heart Raises 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, and Swiss gold leaf on canvas 25 x 25 x 2” (63.8 x 63.8 x 5.1 cm)


The World Egg 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, and Swiss gold leaf on canvas 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)

The Black Knight 2010 gesso, epoxy, gelatin, Swiss gold leaf, and paladium leaf on wood panel 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)

Crimson Tide 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, Japanese crimson colored silver leaf, and clear acrylic overcoat on canvas 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)


Bare Bones 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, aquasize, moon gold leaf, oil size, Japanese Black and Moonbeam colored silver leaves, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 25 x 25 x 2” (63.8 x 63.8 x 5.1 cm)

a view of the east 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, Japanese Dark Bronze colored silver leaf, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)

Gloria 2010 gesso, canvas, gelatin, and Swiss gold leaf on wood panel 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)


Trellis - after Henri Matisse 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, aquasize, Japanese black & pastel moonbeam colored silver leaves, and clear acrylic overcoat on canvas 25 x 25 x 2” (63.8 x 63.8 x 5.1 cm)

Times Square 2010 gesso, acrylic & vinyl polymers, epoxy, oil size, and red gold leaf on canvas 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)

Cathedral 2010 gesso, epoxy, gelatin, various Japanese colored silver leaves, and clear acrylic overcoat on wood panel 15 x 15 x 2” (38.1 x 38.1 x 5.1 cm)


all images copyright 2011 Max Gimblett | maxgimblett.com text copyright 2011 Anna Jackson photos: Tom Warren, New York catalog designed by Matt Jones | mattjonesrules.com the atlantic conference press | theatlanticconferencepress.com

Max Gimblett: The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze  

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Max Gimblett: The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze at Gow Langsford and John Leech Galleri...