Max is currently studying his final year of Fine Art Painting at Brighton University. His work comes from an interest in the implication of narrative through symbols and objects, finding the essence of what something 'is' through the medium of paint. Max talks about his work in relation to his week long residency with the Grey Area.
How does your art react to its environment here at the Grey Area?
Well, I paint at Uni so I already have a vocabulary with the paint, so I already have props and things within the painting. Coming into the space I was using the rooms where the corners go round each other, the edges of walls and the sink, then applying what I already have built up and putting it into the space like with the floorboards and colours of the walls. Then also with this figure, I use it to sort of journey round things and into the space.
How did you decide on how many paintings to make within the space?
It was with how much money I had and how much time I had. Somebody who works here brought down two small frames so that was an added extra. I made four frames altogether which took about two hours each to make.
With regards to the idea of blurring the line between the gallery and the studio, would you say the four walls of the gallery act as a frame for your work rather than the edges of each individual canvas?
How do you mean?
So, does this space become more of an installation?
I didn’t want it to be an installation; I wanted it to be something quite organic. I didn’t really want to consider people coming in to view it at all really. I just wanted to treat it as a new sort of environment to work in. To disregard what people thought and whether they’d come in or not. I could do this work and take it away and be happy with what I’ve made simply because I made it in this sort of environment.
In that respect, if you see this as more of a studio, would you say this work ever ends or is it an ongoing project?
I have this at Uni as well, as along as I’ve got the money to make it I’d keep on doing it. I have loads of ideas of what could be paintings but it’s the fact of having the money to make them.
Whilst working here this week how has it affected your perception of the space?
I think I quite like the small space. Maybe it’s a horrible trait in my character or something. It’s like a horrible place to be and it smells a little bit…..of just something horrible, all the time! I think that sort of feeds in to my work, especially with the atmosphere and the colours that I will use to reflect the space. You can hear footsteps above you, which is creepy.
How are you going to develop this figure you’ve started working on with each painting?
I wanted to make a sculpture of the figure because in the paintings it’s the only thing that isn’t apparent or in the space, for example the walls and sink are apparent in the paintings. So, I think I need to express that somehow and maybe once I’ve done that it’ll change the way I think about it. Maybe I should have done that first, when I came in to be honest. I kind of want to put a sheet and paint all over me and walk around the space.
Your concept of ‘if a painting was made on the floor why can’t it be shown on the floor’ is really interesting. How did this come to be something that you wanted to focus on?
It was through writing my dissertation and also because I hated putting shows on. I think every time we’ve done it it’s like we’ve got a team of curators and that’s not really what I wanted to sign up to. The bit that I enjoy is actually making the paintings so if people can appreciate that, if it’s lent up against a wall, then why not do that? We’ve got a degree show and they’re getting us to think how we’re going to display that right now, so there is a lot of pressure on that as we get marked on how we’ve displayed it.
What are your plans after you finish your degree show at University?
I’m actually doing a residency in China with one of my course mates for a couple of months. When I came down here, I couldn’t think about painting anything else other than the actual space so if I go to China it’s going to completely change the way I work which is really exciting.