Max Key, artist statement:

Gaud is good. Gaud is great. For several years now I have been studying dated interior design for its excessive patterns, forced colors, false allure, and plastic tackiness. The definition of gaudy reads as “reserved for the tasteless." Taste and beauty are subjective. It is here where I have found a profound influence for my current paintings. These have forced me to reacquaint myself with Art History; I look back at past trends, investigate what colors represent different eras of design and fashion, and research ornamentation found in other periods— all for the sake of making large and loud paintings.

With affection for landscape painting and the still life, I begin the process by presenting a flat or shallow patterned space that resembles a kind of interior/exterior wallpaper. The pattern usually represents something pleasurable while the figure ground usually supports a tangled horticulture of frustration. I force the subject matter—birds, flowers and trees—to interact with one another in a humanistic way reflecting ones experience within a time of absurdity. Trees bleed, smoke, feed and deprive. Birds lose their heads. Flowers become more like cancerous forms and sexual toys often engaged in spring time pornography.

Everyday we are bombarded with commercial saturation—fed by death, disease, societal pressure, corruption, and war. I feel these busy and packed spaces visually represent our cultures pining for more information and more stimulation, perfectly.

© 2007 Max Key