7.11.2006

Rachel Maxi

My friend and painter Rachel Maxi just sent me a picture which I thought I'd share with the world-wide web. She has a show coming up at Baas Art Gallery in October, so she has been steadily working away on it. I thought it would be nice to say a few words on her work if I can be so bold. As artists, I think it's part of our fore that we see things outside of perhaps common view, and highlight that which falls into our crosshairs. Rachel is, for me the visual guide to things often past by, either when walking, or driving.

The camera is an essential tool in making Maxi's paintings. Rachel's process begins by making photographs of the landscape around her, which she uses as a kind of sketchbook, selecting single images to develop into paintings. She projects the image onto the canvas and traces the basic lines and shadows of the image. She then completes the painting by matching her paints to the colors in the photograph.

Rachel chooses as her subject matter the urban and suburban landscape that surrounds her -- a terrain populated by ordinary parking lots with neatly trimmed bushes or trees and colorful dumpters washed by the Northwest rain. Shadows drawn out by late afternoon sun over a ordinary, or so it seems, sidewalk. A pool lit up from under the water at night takes on ominous tones in her work. Her neutral, near featureless scenes -- often devoid of any human presence -- of neighborhood streets of Seattle, Redmond, Palm Springs and other communities reveal the deep-seated sense of alienation that characterizes the American middle-class neighborhood of the early 20th century. She's help me really see the ordinary again.

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