"Last Days of Summer" New Paintings

September 1 - October 15, 2023
Preview Week: September 1 - 8
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 9, 6 - 9 pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 6 pm, Sunday 1 - 5 pm, and by appointment

(NEW YORK, NY) - ONETWENTYEIGHT is delighted to present MAXWELL STEVENS "Last Days of Summer" a powerful collection of new oil paintings. Taking on the grand tradition of gestural abstraction inspired by the North Atlantic coast and especially along Long Island with De Kooning and Pollock, the artist superposes explosively energetic abstractions directly atop intimate beach scenes rendered with meticulous precision. Overpainted in jewel-like blues, aquas, and teal, they are a celebration of leisure, friendship, and family, as well as the mutually voyeuristic nature of public beaches where everyone is willfully exposed. Focusing on the populated shorelines and delving into a personal trove of beach photos taken over many summers spent at Long Beach, one of the most popular beaches near NYC and a summertime destination for many New Yorkers.

As an avid beachgoer, Maxwell Stevens spent his adolescence on the Atlantic coast. "Some of my most memorable experiences have been at the beach, it's a place of uninhibited leisure and of letting go of everything. At the same time, it is a place for reflection, a site for us to readjust through life's journey. I want these paintings to convey that same positive effect on the viewer." The artist's visual language of sinuous contours and smears has given way to a burst of highly energetic expressions of scattered brushstrokes, sweeping gestures, drips, and plops of paint that fly across the paintings' surfaces, immersing each scene into his own signature approach to abstraction. The looser and playful compositions skidding into and over the top of beachgoers, sunbathers, and surfers alike.

In the large paintings filling the front of the gallery, bright abstractions and figural compositions shift ceaselessly from image to image. "Beach Scene (Siblings)" presents a group of leisurely young sunbathers. The enticing position of the woman fixing her hair is counterbalanced with the innocence of her companions in the scene, as her sisters laugh and relax under their colorful beach umbrella. Hundreds of other beachgoers disappear onto the horizon. In "Beach Scene, In Repose" a young man sits in contemplation as friends chat under the hot sunlight. And in "Bikini Girl" the over-life-size figure turns powerfully away, her athletic physique and dominating scale displaying a sense of self-empowerment and grandeur balanced with classical beauty. In other works, figures, sand, and surf all dissolve entirely into luminous soft focus. In a final set of smaller panels entitled "Last Days of Summer" figures are seen at a distance conversing under stormy skies, as summertime draws to a close. There are many magical moments at play throughout the series, now on view.

128 Rivington St.
(bet. Essex & Norfolk)
NYC, NY 10002

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