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Max Cole: Breaking Day

June 30, 5:00 pm7:00 pm

Max Cole’s paintings are studies in precision, in balance, in focus. Pared down to neutrals and earth tones, to the dialogue of vertical and horizontal, this austere vocabulary belies the rich and seemingly infinite language that Cole is able to create with her paintings.

In 2015, Cole was asked to participate in a centennial celebration of Malevich, which brought her to focus in on the form of the Greek Cross. The form, which Cole sees as expressing a perfect equilibrium, has continued to inspire Cole since. These new works, shown in “Breaking Day,” and painted since Cole’s move back to New Mexico, still reference the form – but seem to be in a process of cracking open the shape. In some of the pieces in the exhibition, such as “Dreamer” or “Phantom,” the cross remains omnipresent. However, others, like “Haiku” or “Reflection” seem to have broken and unlocked the form.

With their subtlety and quiet beauty, these paintings, despite their deceptive simplicity, present a continuous unfolding. There is a movement between each band of color, each fine line, which the eye follows – focusing first in, then out, detail and then whole, back to detail. And as the viewer eases into a relationship with the painting, sinks into sympathy with it, the quality of attention begins to shift, deepening, softening, expanding.

What seems to lie beyond the sum of the paintings’ parts is a quality of presence, imparted during their creation. The paradoxical state of soft and sharp focus, of vivid awareness which is clear in Max Cole’s creation of the pieces is what, slowly but surely, opens up a possibility of that state within the viewer.


Charlotte Jackson Fine Art
554 S Guadalupe St
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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