Change is inevitable. The philosopher Heraclius pointed out that “life is flux,” that everything constantly shifts around us, and since the very nature of life is change, to resist this natural flow is to resist the very essence of existence. In other words, if we don’t change, we don’t grow; and if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Hence Gandhi encouraged all of us to “be the change we wish to see in the world.”

Max Hammond has embraced change full heartedly, and his latest show is bursting with life, with energy, and with colors, much like a desert landscape after the rain. The concept of “transition” is at the heart of a new series of paintings that the artist will unveil on July 1, 2021 at  Bonner David Galleries in New York City.

Conceived during the long Covid-19 confinement, these new paintings include both drama and joy. They are intense, contemplative, and present large fields of color that border on the sublime. Hammond explains: “I have always loved chromatic grays, but this body of works, painted while I’ve been isolated has grown vivid with primary and secondary colors. The paint itself wants to alleviate my isolation and worries.” 

Hammond’s technique is very deliberate: he applies, removes, scrapes, and adds until he has unearthed the essence of beauty itself. The artist explains: “Much of the paint that is applied is either removed while wet or when it’s dry, with razor blades. If a brushstroke is not interesting, I remove it from the work.” Hammond keeps on working until the different colors and surfaces are harmoniously juxtaposed into a variety of formations. Doing so, he excavates what lies beneath the surface of our conscious recognition.

The ultimate harmony that Hammond reveals allows viewers to glance at the world in which they live: a seemingly chaotic, turbulent, and ever-changing world, but a world that actually is harmonious, beautiful, and good.

Published by

Rebecca Rosenfield

Director, Bonner David Galleries New York