Jane Maxwell: THEN + NOW
Oct 14 – Nov 19, 2022
THEN + NOW
THEN + NOW is Jane Maxwell’s exploration of a major life transition. Her new solo show was created over the past year and a half as a way to process, grieve, accept and ultimately grow, from the end of a thirty-year marriage. The work reflects her fragility and strength during this difficult time, while embracing a reverence and tenderness for the past.
For more than twenty years, Jane Maxwell’s artistic practice was driven by an examination of personal issues related to the pressures of society’s feminine ideals. In her early years, Maxwell used vintage crate labels and movie posters to deconstruct silhouettes, to comment on the deluge of body image messaging. In recent years, Maxwell has layered peeling billboard papers from Paris and Los Angeles to create silhouettes of women in moments of confidence, power and, just as importantly, in repose. Worldwide art collectors have expressed profound connections with these strong images of women in scenes of domestic and urban living.
With this new exhibition, Maxwell takes a deeper dive into her own psyche by mining a personal and vast trove of ephemera she has accumulated and stored for decades; from vintage dolls, ledger books, old boxes, three-dimensional letters and numbers to unique antique objects that have caught her eye over the years. Sorting and integrating these collectibles has allowed Maxwell to create a body of work that represents both the unraveling and rebuilding of a life.
“The last few years have been enormously complex for me. I feel so grateful that I was able to use my art to process the profound changes in my life. After my separation, I went to the studio and found myself gravitating to bins of old materials I had been holding onto for years. I had a deep instinct to bury my hands in their history - to tear, layer, bind and tuck them into original forms. In a sense, I literally and figuratively let go of the old to create something entirely new. This process and series became my personal blueprint for healing.”
Maxwell also uses this latest body of work to step outside her signature medium of resined collage on panel. While several of the pieces utilize her traditional materiality, the bulk of the show is a more raw and dimensional exploration. With this approach, she was free to layer more deeply, thus allowing objects to jut off the canvas and punctuate the intensity of that time period. In addition, Maxwell added the use of paper scrolls, described as ‘torah-like,’ in an effort to honor the sacredness of her past. Finally, plexiglass boxes are used to represent the visualization technique that she and her therapist utilize as a way of isolating and processing difficult feelings.
“A year and a half ago, I began working with these materials randomly and the tears flowed. It was a personal journey, unintended for public consumption. As I continued the work, I found that it evolved into a narrative about the friends and family who held me up, the capacity for new love, and a reclaimed strength. With this healing and tentative confidence, I step cautiously into the gallery domain to share this deeply personal work.”