CHANCE r<::::YThe surfaces of my paintings are the result of my obsession with seeing and process. r<::::YThe images I use come to me from direct observation of my daily life and from the media which I believe is part of the landscape in which we exist. r<::::YChance.It's a way to overcome my hardearned skills. At the same time I'd sink without them. I start with a few sketchy lines (occasionallyan elaborate charcoal drawing). Feeling the surface of the canvas and taking its dimensions, so to speak. Next I mix colors in Dixie cups. The canvas goes on the floor and I begin pouring. The deliberating eye decides if the effort has been wasted or not. CURTAIN
the Veils series 1996
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 70" x 24"
CHATELAINES It is a black and white photograph of a young society woman. There is nothing special about it. She sits with her hair freshly coifed, surrounded by her things in her presumably expensive rooms, her right hand casually touching a smiling young man. There is a mirror behind her and a polished table in front of her. On the table is a tray with glassware, and two candlesticks with lighted candles. Beside the tray stand gilded figurines of a lion, an elephant
1994 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 56" x 70"
and a giraffe. At the upper left the lustrous knee and bent arm of a Buddha intrude into the frame. I've looked at this picture for years, attracted either to the light embodied in the mirrors, gilt, candles and glassware or to the way the woman is looking at the camera. She is not just the subject of the gaze, she is gazing back at the lens with full knowledge of what is going on. She has a wonderful, quizzical look. I decided to see how many variations I could do on this simple tune.
.-<::::YI am fascinated by the accouterments used to subdue those fierce birds, falcons: The elegant feathered hoods, the josses and leather gloves. And the erotic tension between the bird and her tamer. "At night hawks become curiously docile, and by candlelight the falconer may do as he will with her, unsealing her eyes, putting the hated hood on and off, fondling her head and wings. But this is a candlelight courtship, and in the morning she may well be as wild and coy as ever" (Nan Fairbrother, Men and Gardens) .
.-<::::YVeils and grills obscure and protect. They are also devices to deal simultaneously with flatness and the illusion of space. .-<::::YLooking while making. I see paintings that no one else will ever see. When the canvas is upright things disappear under skiffs of paint. When the canvas is on the floor and paint is flooding over the surface I hover over it watching and pouncing, a veritable Harrier hawk. .-<::::YRauschenberg raids the media and fine art. DeLillo heads for the arc of history and American culture. I do a little of both with tendencies toward the detritus of ordinary life. (See Norman Bryson, Looking at the Overlooked. )
RAIMENT When I began the garments I was remembering an Italian wedding. The guests pinned money on the bride's dress. I thought they ought to pin photographs on her. At the moment she embodied the generations before her and the ones to follow. The patterns on the gowns (vetch, willow, rosehips, lace/ice) echo the seasons of a woman's life, the tilting of the planet. And the seasons bring us food; a banquet if we are lucky.
from the Raiment series 1996 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 70" x 24"
r::::::,.>The dividing line, the abrupt edit, the what's next to what makes montage stimulating. As in jazz, it is the rhythm, the time, that gives the work its quality. It's only a few beats from rhythm to repetition. I repeat images in different scale, using color or graphic means to get at why they haunt me, feeding on them until they no longer nourish me.
Look at the tall, narrow paintings. The first one I did I remember thinking I wanted to make something that shimmered downward like a mirage. One leads
r::::::,.> I have come to rely on the intrusion of visual cross-referencing. I am always collecting images from newspapers, magazines and books, or making notes and quick sketches from TV or out the car window. When culling, I don't think about what the picture means or why it appeals to me-I just take it. Pictures are memory imprints held in some secret place until I am ready to look at them. When certain pictures come together, they make some sort of sense. Of course, at the same time, the photos, clippings and sketches are floating all over the studio. A good analogy for what I'm after in the paintings. I want the surface of the canvas to read evenly like a desktop of shuffled papers. I see a large picture made up of many interlocking individual pictures. Chuck Close calls it an "all-overness" when the surface is "equalized."
to two, two leads to four. Working on these paintings it struck me that they resembled poems: vertical with stanzas. As the paintings spread across the wall they began to resemble a huge cabinet of curiosities. Curios. Curious. Curiosity. The ':..wit of the seventeenth century. ..is the creation of a peculiar beauty by means of curious intellectual conceptions .... It is a very conscious distortion, often of things already
beautiful, to create rarer, more particular, more intellectual beauty"
(Nan Fairbrother, Men and Gardens).
r::::::,.>I once had an unexpected sighting in a corridor at the Met. Striding along toward some destination I was stopped by the panels from Pompeii. Elegant little paintings of birds, as if some journeyman had been sent over to decorate the dining room. My arm lifted in a visceral connection with the brush stroke. The marks were so simple and direct. I felt immediately akin to the person who had made them. It was as if there was no time or distance between us. -M.M. EPIGRAPHS SELECTED
from the Cabinets of Curiosities series 1997 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 70" x 24"
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild civility, Do more bewitch me than when art Is too precise in every part. --ROBERT
Annihilating all that's made To a green thought in a green shade. --ANDREW
The voluble intentions of the symbols, The ghostly celebrations of the picnic, The secretions of insight. --WALLACE STEVENS
from the Veils series 1997 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 70" x 24"
Take Crocus Arabicus Calcanthus Arabian Verdigris Litharge Red Calcined Tin Quick Sulphur Citrine Arsenic Red Sublimated Calx Prepared Sal Ammoniac Saltpetre Red Animal Oil --
1997 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 70" x 48"
The attempt to submit chance to thought implies in the first place an interest in the experience of that which happens unexpectedly. --DERRIDA
C H RON
SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane 1937
Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Spends childhood in Albuquerque, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Spokane
City of Seattle Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
Enters Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA
Receives B. A. Holy Names College, Spokane
Receives M.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking, University of Washington, Seattle
Exhibition of work begins with first solo show at Attica Gallery, Seattle
Kobe Art Museum, Kobe, Japan
Visiting Artist, Linfield College, McMinnville, OR
Microsoft, Redmond, WA
One of "Seven Washington Printmakers" (Organized by Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, and circulated in the US. and Iapan.)
Prints included in "West Coast '71" (Curated by the Achenbach Foundation, San Francisco, circulated by the Smithsonian.)
Pratt Graphics Center, New York
Curator of Art, Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, Spokane
Director, Spokane Art School
Trustee, Western Association of Art Museums
Member, Washington State Governor's Advisory Committee, Cultural Enrichment Program
Member, Art Advisory Committee, Expo '74, Spokane
Visiting Artist, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
First trip to Mexico :.
Establishes studio in Seattle
Designer/Photo editor, Photography Northwest
Releases "ELLE,"an animated color Xerox film, screened nationally including the Athens Film Festival, Ohio, and the Women's Film Festival, Seattle (First Prize)
Staff, and/or, Seattle
Curator, "Suspended Animation", an exhibition of original art from experimental films by twenty-one US. film-makers, and/or, Seattle
Glass Windows, St. Joseph's Children's Home, Spokane
Glass Installation, Temple Beth Shalom, Spokane
Artist in Residence, Centrum Foundation, Port Townsend, WA
Prints, Bellevue Arts & Crafts Festival, Bellevue, WA (First Place)
Glass installation, Clover Park High School, Tacoma, WA
Paintings, "VI Northwest Int'l.", Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham (Best in Show Award)
Glass installation, US. Custom Station, Lynden, WA
Artist in Residence, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA
Trustee, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle (Vice Pres., '89-91)
Joins Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle
Establishes studio on Whidbey Island, WA.
Exhibit Curator: J. Scott Patnode
Installs commissioned paintings at SeaTac Int'l. Airport
Design: Phil Kovacevich
Travels in France and Italy
Photographs: Richard Nicol
Most recent solo show at Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle
Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane King County, WA
Port of Seattle Spokane Arts Commission Washington State Arts Commission RECENT SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Burkman, Greg, "Maxine Martell at Grover! Thurston:' Reflex, Seattle, March, 1995. Weiss, Peggy, and Rosenthal, Ann T., "Agents of Change: New Views by Northwest Women," Seattle Convention Center catalogue, 1995.
Brunsman, Laura, and Askey, Ruth, eds., Modernism and Beyond: Women Artists of the Pacific Northwest, Midmarch Arts Press, 1993.
Glowen, Ron, "Northwest Tales:' Anchorage Museum of Art catalogue, 1992.
Kangas, Matthew, "Maxine Martell at Grover/Thurston:' Art in America, April, 1992. Carlsson, [ae, "Modernism's Bold Stroke:' Reflex, Seattle, Ian/Peb, 1992. Glowen, Ron, "Singing With the Voices of Protest:' Artweek, Nov. 28,1991. Bryant, Elizabeth, "Interface/Innerfaceinterpreting the real:' Security Pacific Gallery catalogue, Seattle, 1991. Hackett, Regina, "Garcia & Martell Dominate Interface/Innerface," Seattle P-I, Jan. 24, 1991. Tarzan, Deloris, "Painting a Photo-Meaning From Image:' Seattle Times, Jan. 25,1991.
ÂŠ Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University
Spokane, Washington 99258-0001 Paintings courtesy of the artist Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle Lorinda Knight Gallery, Spokane
BY THE SAHLIN
Cover: Labyrinth, 1997, (detail)