“Maxwell consumes the consumer culture that would otherwise consume him”
-Alfie Strong, Curator of Cella Shows
Graduating from Leeds College of Art in 2012 with 1st Class Honours, he recalls making a clear decision to face the corporate-artist symbiosis head on, rather than attempting to stay apart from a system whose voracious hunger for innovation is only matched by its capacity for inclusivity. At the core of Maxwell Rushton’s art practice is a complicated, compelling exploration of the artist-as-a-brand.
His position on art in relation to branding is perhaps perfectly summed up by the conundrum of Outsider Art: an artless form of art-making transformed into 100% pure commercial gold and incorporated into the system of art production as a commercial genre. Utilising the languages of the advertising industry, he creates pithy self-aware comments on various aspects of the subordination of cultural values and ethics to the industry of production and consumerism we live within. More over, Maxwell’s conceptual manoeuvres often leave the viewer uncertain as to their position in relation to his art. Are they implicated in the system, or have they absolved themselves of it?
Maxwell practice includes performance, painting, drawing and sculpture. His work has explored homelessness, mental illness and our brand-embalmed society in a novel manner that is neither critical nor supportive. That these subjects have a personal resonance for Maxwell is important: he is not removed from the inspiration of his practice, it is something that is entirely personal to him. In his own words, the subjects choose him, not the other way round.
In his work Buy In Bleed Out Maxwell commodified himself by painting 20 pints of his own blood into an epic-scale replica of his logo, physically turning himself into a piece of advertising. From this, to his project Drawn Out, in which he filled four 10 meter rolls of paper with approximately 10 million hand drawn lines, to video footage Left Out which has been viewed by 40 million people, his “thought-provoking” (Huffington Post) works have begun to establish him in the art world.
- Joshua Vaughan (Co-Curator of Exchange)
Selected solo shows
2016 – Inside Out, Exchange, London
2015 – Drawn Out, MMX Gallery, London.
2014 – Industry & Artistry, West London Art Factory, London.
2013 – Sonic, North Bar, Leeds.
2012 – Post Product, Cellar Shows, Leeds.
2011 – Mong & Ming, LAB, Leeds.
Selected group shows
2015 – Prima, PoptArt Gallery, London.
2014 – BCN Art (Barcelona International Art Fair), Barcelona.
2014 – Art In Mind, The Brick Lane Gallery, London.
2014 – The Day Job, Hoxton Basement, London.
2016 – ‘Inside Out’ at Exchange – London
2014-2015 – ‘Drawn Out’ -France
2009-2012 – BA (Hons) Fine Art, Leeds College of Art, Leeds, UK (First-Class).
V&P Tassis Sculpture Award 2016 (first prize)
Guest speaker at Exchange Residency
“Eye-opening” – The True Activist
“Act of courage” – Frame Magazine
“Thought provoking” – Huffington Post
“Challenges our attitudes” – The Big Issue
“Unconventional and Moving” – ARTiculAction
“Utterly shocking and awe-inspiring” – India Art n’Design
“Unique ability to both shock and move his audience” – Arteviste
“Hoofin, this guy is dope” – Tom Hardy (actor/owner of Bingo Bango 2)
“Causing a stir throughout the international art scene” – Lodown Magazine
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