Centre for Recent Drawing presents the first UK solo exhibition of artist Maxime Angel. Through a highly physical and performative relationship to her drawing practice, Maxime Angel mines a deep held fascination with human sexuality and mortality in her intensely beautiful yet disturbing works on paper and card.
Angel’s personal interaction with her medium and her ability to project the internal and external machinations of the artitst’s body onto the 2D plane create a deeply visceral viewing. She lies, sleeps, smudges, interacts, destroys, scars, crumples and lives with her work, upon which she inscribes her fears, experiences and realities. Thus the drawings become an artifact of her life, laid bare in an intimate exchange of imagery and symbolism that sees the viewer not only connecting with Angel but reading something of themselves in the work.
The fragile nature of the medium reflects the works powerful grasping for fleeting beauty, as young vitality morphs into decay. Angel deploys these images as a metaphor for AIDS and our constant slide towards death, although she regards the act of drawing as itself a way propagate life, a Dorian Grey like exorcism of the inevitable.
Maxime Angels work traces a long and complex historical line of queer drawing, from tattooing to gay erotica, yet cannot be described simply as pornography. Her erotic illustrations mesh together both personal and cross-cultural references in uneasy yet sublime cohesion, while her beautiful and complex compositions recall traditions of Vanitas and still life. In doing so she subverts and utilizes the gay sub cultures, religion and pop iconography that have so influenced her life, exposing and exploring perceptions of gay narcissism.
Capturing what Angel describes as the ‘perfection in decay,’ these works entice the viewer with a rich visual language which is at once highly distinctive to the artist yet ultimately recognizable and truthful. We are reminded of our own mortality, but also of the cyclical and uplifting nature of life.
Maxime Angel will be working on a large site specific drawing in the gallery space in the weeks leading up to the show- feel free to come visit and watch Angel’s process on 28-30th April and 5-7th May 12-6pm. The show is curated by Paul Kindersley.
Words by Paul Kinderseley
Where – C4RD | 2 – 4 Highbury Station Road, Highbury Islington, London.
When – opening reception on Tuesday 10th May 2011 from 6 – 8pm. The exhibition will run from 11th May to 17th June 2011