Reverie is the title of Kent Maxwell’s Rothko meets Wyeth by way of Pollack seascapes. The essence of the works – a dream-like tranquility – belies their structure. Maxwell makes his own wooden floater frames. He tosses the resulting sawdust into the paint or adds polymers of some kind, which bind with the acrylic paint to add texture and depth to the pieces. He experiments with all sorts of junk to get the precise desired consistency.

I remember a docent telling me that Jackson Pollack would smoke cigarettes and drop the butts into his paintings. He painted in a barn with the canvas on the floor and sometimes bugs would find their end as they collided with the sticky tar-paint combo. Those casualties did not deter Pollack from his intuitive dance.

The difference here is that Maxwell finds Rothko-like serenity in that Pollack-y chaos. His understructure transforms into a top coat of soothing horizontals then he adds the splashes of Wyeth-esque ocean waves.

The paintings are about texture and color, and maybe creating a consistent recognizable style. Nothing more – no pretense.

Kent Maxwell had a tent on E. Onondaga Street during the M & T Arts & Crafts Festival in downtown Syracuse, New York over the weekend. Next up for him is the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair in Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire, August 5-13, 2023.

He is represented by two galleries –

Nahcotta Gallery 110 Congress Street Portsmouth, NH 03801
The Gallery on Federal 2 Federal Street Newburyport, MA 01950

For more information you can contact him at or visit his website.

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