In anticipation of his upcoming solo exhibition, Inside, Outside, PIERMARQ* asked rising Australian art star Maximilian Daniels about his process, inspirations and his ongoing investigation into the complexities natural light.
PIERMARQ*: What is your jumping off point with a new painting?
MAXIMILIAN DANIELS: I take in my surroundings in my outdoor studio space, taking note of the light and time of day and use whatever comes to my head after that to make my first marks on the work. Often my inspiration comes from a distorted reflection of the space in the large floor to ceilings windows that surround it. Sometimes I will apply some direct marks with very liquid transparent paint impulsively and quickly to the surface. Other times I will lay down a flat transparent wash and block a large area/areas of the canvas.
P*: In what ways do you consider this body of work a progression from your last show at PIERMARQ*?
MD: I have further developed the palette and tone to convey the depth, and nuances of natural light that I am concerned with in my work. This is directly related to the subtle differences in structure and layering that makes up the final composition of the work.
P*: Is the main source of inspiration for this body of work still the relationship between light and glass?
MD: Light, specifically natural light in an atmospheric sense will always been a main concern in my practice. Glass is also still a concern in my practice and as a memetic tool is particularly relatable to the ideas that I am looking at in my work. It is transparent, reflective and joins inside and outside spaces, so it is quite poignant as a metaphor for understanding how I come to the compositions in my work.
P*: What are the core concerns of your practice?
MD: Light, colour and gesture
P*: The ultimate colour of your paintings is the sum of many layers of glaze – before painting, how aware are you of what the final palette will be?
MD: I usually have a vision of how I would like the work to look once I have finished it but sometimes certain events happen during the course of making the work that divert me from the original idea. When working primarily in transparent paint, it is more or less impossible to erase marks without losing continuity in the layering process of the work. Using opaque paint half way through a painting to erase an area of paint is rarely an option as anything I do is in discord with the rest of the painting and does not “work”.
P*: Since your last solo at PIERMARQ*, you have shown at both Sydney Contemporary and Auckland Art Fair. How have you found the art fair experience and do you think it has had an impact on either your career or your approach to making art?
MD: I have enjoyed exhibiting work at Syd Contemporary and Auckland Art Fair. Considering that generally speaking I am looking more to international artists and galleries for inspirations in my own practice than what seems to be more popularly accepted as interesting art in Australia – it has been good to exhibit work to a broader audience. It has had a positive impact on my career in that it was a great opportunity to exhibit work to an interested audience. It has not influenced my approach to how and why I make art.
P*: You’re very fastidious about framing – to what end is the frame part of the work to you?
MD: It is important to me that my hand is involved in making the frame in my work because it has direct impact on the aesthetic and material processes involved in the work. In my personal philosophy the frame is part of the work and not separate therefore it is important to me that I make the frame... at least for now.
P*: You've previously mentioned that the two larger works in the show (Inside, Outside and Sunset) are "Exercises in shades of orange and red light" – can you expand on that a bit please? And did you paint them both at the same time?
MD: These two works were painted over a long course of afternoons at the same time. The light in the afternoons in which they were painted held an orange or red light, interspersed with the colour of the sky or the light reflected by clouds. I have tried to capture elements of these afternoons in each layer, using a slightly different geometric structure as a template for the areas to interact. The works relate to each other in this way as they reference the same environment and scene.
MAXIMILIAN DANIELS | Inside, Outside
30 May - 15 June 2019