Cosmic Sculpture Garden

Rachel Maxi brings her paintings, sculpture, and assemblages to the VCA gallery.

Work included in this show spans the last several years and reflects on influences from residencies in Morocco and locations throughout the American West, and her subconscious memory of things ancient, futuristic, and multidimensional. Incorporating various materials including oil paint, beeswax, and gold leaf, her work fluctuates from flat to 3 dimensional. Paintings that look sculptural appear alongside assemblages and sculptures with richly textured and painted surfaces. 

Artist Statement 

My work references the mystical aspects of nature, landscapes, and built environments. I am interested in how we inhabit and move in these spaces, and how we remember them—culturally, spiritually, and historically. I think too about emotional memory; we remember the way a place makes us feel, not only how it looks, just as we remember the way a person makes us feel, not only their name. 

Every morning, I head out the door and walk. I think of myself as an explorer, collector, and synthesizer. Sometimes I collect physical things like little pieces of wood or rusty bits of metal, and other detritus. I note visual references, like seasonal colors and light, plants, birds, natural and urban landscapes, and decay. The components will later be woven into my art. 

In the studio, I implement a combination of ancient and contemporary materials, including oil paint, Sumi, beeswax, gold leaf, and found matter. The paintings and sculptures are developed side by side, resulting in a dialogue between them involving shared materials, shapes, and colors. I like the puzzle of balancing the various elements in a sculpture or a painting, harmonious and dissonant, dark, and light, illusional and real, soft and sharp. I generally don't sketch out a plan or blueprint to work from, and a piece always changes in the act of making it. I let the material tell me how it wants to go, feeling for the natural physical logic of things, but also finding that, often, the things I like most are not what I understand or ever imagined working visually.



Rachel Maxi is a long time Seattle based artist working in painting, sculpture, and various media. She was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and came to Seattle after college in 1990. For about the first twenty years of her career, she identified as a representational painter of urban landscape and still life. During this time, she often described her approach as “the diary of the mundane”: a meditation on beautiful quiet moments captured through careful rendering, composition, and depiction of light. Her work has been shown in the Seattle and Tacoma Art Museums, and widely collected both publicly and privately. 

Around 2015, she was gravely injured by a car in a pedestrian crosswalk. That life altering event renewed her dedication to her practice and spurred her to pursue the body of work she has been steadily developing over the last eight years. 

Her perspective has also been informed by six artist residencies spanning from Morocco to locations throughout the American West.  What emerged from these spans of focused creativity is an alternative visual language and approach to art making - one that she thinks of as a mystical, fantastical coded diary framed in explorations of nature, cities, memory, and place — and as with her previous body of work, a meditation on the simple, but sacred act of just being here. 

Maxi has been award residencies in Morocco, Playa in Oregon, Joshua Tree, Wilapa Bay, and Wyoming. She has done two solo shows at i.e. Gallery In Edison, WA. in 2020 and 2022. 

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