Maximilian Daniels

I believe intuition and expression to be an intrinsic part of my art-making practice. This idea drives my process of observational abstraction, where examination of a stimulus allows a relationship to develop between gesture, form and subject.

Working from naval ship models, I let my eye deconstruct the object, drawing shapes and structures that translate to an image often divorced from its true physical form. I feel this process gives my work an air of spontaneity, energy and movement where my passion for painting as a physical action or release is conveyed strongly to the audience. Playing with the distinction between representational abstraction and pure abstraction, my aim is to compile a diverse body of work from a single stimulus.

My most important impetus is the passion for painting as a movement, almost as an impromptu dance performance. I like to spend long periods just pondering, and often this process culminates in short bursts of energy where ideas and colour spill out onto the canvas. This process is my vehicle for transferring into any image I create not only my love for painting but also a sense of joviality towards the medium itself.

Drawing and smaller studies are also an important part of forming an understanding of the subject, in order to then deconstruct it. The primary intention of life drawing and observation is to express a subject as accurately as possible. My drawings and studies depart from the original intention of traditional observational drawing, moving towards personal impression, investigating ways in which a subject can be represented divorced of its true physical form. This depiction examines observation on a personal level and actively explores how gesture can be used to express a subject in a novel and interesting way.

I like to explore various Cubist ideas of deconstructing form, using flattened areas of colour, shapes and line to delineate my subject. By loosely incorporating these principles within my works, the development of the image becomes a cumulative, metamorphic process. The simple process of observing each model allows me to then form my own impression, expression and intuitive image. My works acknowledge Neo-Expressionist Julian Schnabel’s statement, “Painting can proceed from one’s inspiration and can be complete and successful in the sense that it is materialised.” (Julian Schnabel, 1983: 94).

The thought experiment known as ‘The Ship of Theseus’ is particularly important to my current work. Commonly known as the Theseus’ paradox, this experiment questions whether an object could have all of its structural elements replaced and remain fundamentally the same object. First documented by the philosopher Plutarch, this experiment is important in further understanding the motive for the process of abstraction and the motifs within my works.

Additionally, the act of model-making replicates ideas of deconstruction and reconstruction that are important in my work. Crafted by my grandfather, the meticulous models embody his careful discipline which I aim to investigate through breaking up and deconstructing the object. I also use this process as a way of capturing the model’s symbolic importance in representing my grandfather as a prominent figure during my upbringing, and within my family. Through my ties to the model I can develop a narrative between the history of the object and my relationship to it.

To further personalise these motifs and models, the titling of each work and the invented ships is very important to the continuity of my work as a whole. Naming the ships as any naval architect would a real one, I appropriate words for my abstract creations that relate strongly to the image (colour, form), and my Australian upbringing. The ships relevant to my current work, ‘HMAS Galah’ and ‘HMAS Pavlova’, are essentially ships of my mind, embodied physically only by their fruition in paint. The palette used in painting both ships makes direct reference to these Australian icons, placing my work within the traditions of contemporary Australian abstract painting.

For me, painting is an organic process, where ideas develop parallel to the creation of work. I see the ideas of abstraction addressed in my work as a theme that could be built on into the future in my painting practice, further developing my ideas of deconstruction as a mode of abstraction. These ideas could be applied to a variety of objects or ideas which could form the stimulus to new paintings.

Additionally, materials and materiality are extremely important in achieving the utmost vibrancy, brilliance and quality in my work. Having also stretched almost all my work myself, I feel my connection to each work as a whole is evident in its appearance.

EXHIBITION
Deconstructing
Paintings by Maximilian Daniels
Opening 16 September 2015
Piermarq

Images courtesy the artist and Piermarq

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