Max Jansons, Angels and lovers: AF Projects, Los Angeles

2 - 30 November 2020

All the subjects that I use in my work ultimately provide me with a vehicle to engage with the language and history of painting. Gesture, line, color, surface these are the words that write the story. My subjects often act as a touchstone or a way into the painting. Within my work I enjoy constantly shifting the lens. How a flower can become an abstraction, a still life can transform into a landscape, a geometric shape can become almost organic. Those are things that interest me. The connections you can make, how you can redefine things, shift your perceptions, and change the way you see the world. Thats what I feel a painting can do. It helps you to see the things around you in a different way. Or at least helps you to notice the things you've missed or passed by. Frank Stella said "What you see is what you see." That is not really the case with my work. In a way I create certain expectations by choosing common painting subject like still-life, portraiture, abstraction, but I often "flip the script" within the painting, and lead myself to places I was not expecting. I like being able to approach my paintings from a multitude of perspectives, this often uses the paintings as a means to escape and go somewhere else. The history of painting is an important subject of my work. I grew up in NYC, in Soho, my father was a painter. I grew up immersed in the history and language of painting. It is something that is a natural part of the way I approach and think about the visual world. In a way I view everything around me through the lens of painting. I will reference other artists or there work in unexpected ways within my work. A vase can make use of a Vasarely abstraction, a Stella abstraction can be transformed into a Flower, doing this allows me to deal with time and expand visual definitions. The presence of the hand is something I value. Its something you often loose in this digital age. I firmly believe in the power of the the handmade. I believe it communicates a vulnerability and a very human experience. The nuanced brushwork and subtleties that reward a close and intimate look and engagement with the paintings are something that are important to my work. How the light glides over the brushwork in the painting activates it and helps to create a complete experience. It is something I am obsessed with. The materials I use tie everything together. Even the handcut steel tacks from England I use to stretch my canvas set the stage for whats to come. They are an antiquated way to stretch a canvas, but I find their materiality satisfying and pounding each one in by hand allows to be begin to connect with the work I am about to start. I use paint sourced from rare sources, and from companies that no longer exist, mediums made from aged oils, all of these bring physical qualities to the work that I desire and allow me to engage in  a different way of being. I take a certain amount of satisfaction in taking these old, antiquated materials and finding new meaning in them. I will be showing some new larger scale paintings. I have been developing and working towards them for a while. The subjects and themes remain consistent, the scale is very different from the more intimate scale that I have been working in. They become much more of a physical experience.


About the artist:

Max Jansons was born in New York City however, lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He received an MFA from Columbia University, New York and his BFA from University of California at Los Angeles. He has had twelve solo shows and has exhibited in galleries in the US and abroad. He has been reviewed in The LA Times, The New York Times, Artforum, and was named among other important LA based painters in Christopher Knights list of "45 Painters Under 45" in the Los Angeles Times. Max Jansons work focuses on paintings' ability to engage the viewer in an intimate way and create an unfolding and thoughtful visual experience. He works from various subject matter within the same body of paintings, using both representational and abstract images. Jansons has expanded on an ongoing investigation in the tradition of still-life painting while imbuing his paintings with art historical references. His works can include a vase of flowers, a portrait of childhood hero, sailboats, or abstract shapes and visual objects that play a role in his daily life. The history of painting is folded into the subject of his work as he is a passionate student of art history. Jansons explores that relationship in multiple ways, but especially with the use of his painterly gestures and diverse brush work, timeless materials such as linen primed with lead, paints ground in aged oil and pigments whose sources are rare to find. The process of reinvigorating historical tropes by utilizing a very deft facture of expressionist painting and the celebration of complex color combinations is a central theme to Jansons work.