Lucy Maki’s intuitive process calls back to New Mexico’s Transcendental Painting Group and yields shaped paintings in a style of her own.
Albuquerque | lucymakiart.com | @lucy_maki_
represented by Exhibit/208, Albuquerque
The way we navigate space on an everyday basis drills out any sense of ambiguity. Each quest is for an answer: find the destination, measure the distance for time.
Lucy Maki’s paintings can present themselves like off-kilter hallways or streets in the glance of someone in a hurry to arrive somewhere else. And so it’s magical when the goal disappears from an attentive viewer’s experience as they traverse the space in and around her paintings.
Geometry and architectural mechanisms in her paintings reference the certainty offered by built environments. It’s Maki’s slant, playful gestures and textures that transcend our associations with anything sure. “Allusions intertwine with illusions in the end result,” Maki says. “I paint with an empty mind.” She works intuitively with pure form like New Mexico’s Transcendental Painting Group and sees herself in the lineage of its members, who were active in the 1930s.
Maki’s process is as much a mystery to her as it is for the viewer. After her solo show Out of the Blue at Exhibit/208 wrapped in March, she began documenting every phase of her paintings’ development to track these impulses.
“I have become most curious about identifying the original motivation and then the point at which that motivation is tossed to the wind or forgotten and something unexpected and exciting emerges,” Maki says.
New Mexico’s connection with the origins of modernist abstraction drew the artist to move to Albuquerque. The sculptural ambitions of her paintings are becoming secondary to her use of color: Labyrinthine Constructs (2022), a series of six canvases, bursts with amaranth, lime, and deep oranges.
You can find Maki’s work at Exhibit/208 and in the collections of the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and the University of New Mexico Art Museum.