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SF Chronicle Review – Kenneth Baker – March 4, 2012
Maxine Solomon: The Space of In Between
“Turneresque” may not be too grand a word to describe the recent work of Bay Area PAINTER Maxine Solomon. She packs her canvases with so much aesthetic information that they generate on their own the sort of pictorial storms and atmospheres that the British master of the sublime loved to conjure. She, however, has cast off the last vestiges of figure and subject and gone for sheer immersion.
An image forms in my mind and the seed of a painting is sewn. As the image takes shape on the canvas it also takes control of the process and the outcome. The painter Richard Diebenkorn summed it up well – “I can never accomplish what I want. Only what I would have wanted had I thought of it in the first place.”
The combination of quiet glazes with active brushstrokes helps to capture a moment in time, leaving the viewer to wonder if the image is merely an abstract painting or a colorful landscape. Delve deeper within the layers of paint to find hidden images and meanings or merely travel within these layers to see an intricate and textured surface – a choice left to the viewer. As I work, each painting speaks to me not only of the beauty of our world but also of its ecological endangerment – it’s preservation as well as its withering away.
Maxine Solomon is an oil painter who has many solo shows and awards to her credit, extensive curatorial experience, and has conducted painting workshops in the United States and abroad.
She paints in her light-flooded San Francisco studio. Using both additive and subtractive processes creates a heavily textured and tortured surface, sometimes obliterating and sometimes delineating the subject matter. The resulting canvases sometimes contain as many as 30 layers of paint. Her images are drawn from her experiences working and traveling throughout the world. As she states, “I think, react and speak through my paintings. The paint itself becomes my partner – its texture, its vibrancy, its very nature becomes a crucial component, enabling me to process and speak of that which I see in our shared world. The differences between one person’s perception and another’s reality are subjects often dealt with in her paintings. They draw the viewer into a world that is at once landscape and imagination.
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