At the core of Maxwell Rushton’s art practice is a complicated, compelling exploration of the artist-as-a-brand.
Graduating from Leeds University 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.
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.
Maxwell’s chosen aesthetic therefore polarises a commercially-saturated existence and a world that resists it, placing commercialism in a binary with the ideal of ‘purity’; his use of art created by children directs us to this tension.
As a young boy, he would repeatedly draw a set of four vertical marks, a motif of mark making that would follow him into adulthood. These marks originate from the primal spontaneous expression of a child, an expression still devoid of any of the influences of adulthood which can not be attributed or interpreted by schooled thought. As Maxwell describes “I was making these lines instinctively, it’s reflexive, they always felt very natural to leave behind.” It was not until he fully matured as an artist that he enacted a metamorphosis of this motif into a branded logo of self-commodification. Through this transformation of an innate, authentic gesture into the insignia of his brand, he draws light upon the perversion of purity for profit, enacted by a society in the thrall of consumerism.
Intertwining performance, painting, drawing and sculpture, Maxwell’s mixed media endeavours have 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.
2009 – 2012: BA (HONS) FINE ART, LEEDS COLLEGE OF ART, LEEDS, UK (FIRST-CLASS).
SELECTED SOLO SHOWS
2018 – ARTIFACT, NEW YORK (UPCOMING).
2016 – ASKIN GALLERY, MOSCOW (UPCOMING).
2015 – MMX GALLERY, LONDON. AS PART OF SOUTH LONDON ART MAP – SLAM FRIDAYS & DEPTFORD X.
2014 – WEST LONDON ART FACTORY, LONDON.
2013 – NORTH BAR, LEEDS.
2012 – CELLAR SHOWS, LEEDS.
2011 – LAB, LEEDS.
SELECTED GROUP SHOWS
2015 – POPTART GALLERY, LONDON.
2014 – BCN ART (BARCELONA INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR), BARCELONA.
2014 – THE BRICK LANE GALLERY, LONDON.
2014 – TRY SPACE, LONDON.
2014 – HOXTON BASEMENT, LONDON.
2016 -‘Inside Out’ at Exchange – London
2014-2015 – ‘Drawn Out’ -France
V&P Tassis Sculpture Award 2016 (first prize)
PRESS / PUBLICATIONS
02/13/12 - Sweet Station
04/15/12 - Dilate - #1
07/02/12 - Wet Paint
07/23/12 - JAM Magazine
04/25/14 - Culture 24
05/08/14 - Sick Chirpse
06/07/14 - Tom Hardy Dot Org
07/03/14 - Frame Magazine - #99 "Act of Courage"
09/21/14 - Art Book Guy "Brands & Consumers"
04/13/15 - Collective Wisdom
07/01/15 - ArtReveal
07/29/15 - 365 Days 365 Artists
01/08/16 - Arteviste
04/19/16 - Made In Shoreditch
04/23/19 - ARTiculAction Art Review // Special Edition (pg.48-74)
O5/05/16 - FUBIZ
06/07/16 - CULTURE 24
06/16/16 - PLAY GROUND
06/18/16 - UPSOCL
06/21/16 - TRUE ACTIVIST
06/22/16 - Lodown Magazine // culture and consumption
06/25/16 – GAIA DERGI
- TOM HARDY (ACTOR), LONDON.
Works held in private collections in USA, France, Germany, Brazil, UK, South Africa and Hong Kong.
DURING THE SUMMER OF 2014 MAXWELL WORKED ALONGSIDE MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ ON HER EXHIBITION ‘512 HOURS’, SERPENTINE GALLERY (LONDON).
'Bingo Bango 2' was traded to British actor Tom Hardy. Tom has it featured in various photographs with the painting which he uploaded onto his Tumblr commenting on them "New artist alert this guy is dope" "Well brilliant" and "Ally as Fuhk!" -View Here
“Eye-opening” – The True Activist
“Act of courage” – Frame Magazine
“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