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paintings by Max Gimson

Vickers Award Winner - Max Gimson

Mon, 25/09/2023 - 13:12

Recent winner of the Vickers Award Painting Prize Max Gimson talks to us about his work before his upcoming move to his new studio at Banks Mill.  

I've been a painter for around 14 years, studying at The Royal College of Art MA Painting 2017-19 and Brighton university BA Fine Art Painting 2009-12. As the recipient of the Jonathan Vickers Award, I'll be moving to Derby for 9 months to work towards an exhibition at Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Up until now I've moved around quite a bit, studying in Brighton then London, and most recently, living in Glasgow making paintings from my attic. The studio at Banks Mill is provided as part of the award and I know having more space will really help free up my paintings.  

The works I make are a ‘feeling out’ of my immediate environment. Encounters and experiences that hang around like psychological barbs in my thoughts end up informing anything from the narrative and figurative forms in my work, to more intangible qualities like mood and passages of colour. I’m interested in the temporal qualities of paint as a medium, how a painted surface can be fast and visually impactful and also slow, revealing itself over prolonged viewing through the use of gesture and materiality, somewhat like sensing the histories of a location, overlapping and interplaying into a present moment, through architecture, people and nature. 

I currently work as an audio describer scriptwriter for television and I hope to make my exhibition at Derby Museum accessible to a visually impaired audience. Visually describing paintings is something I've not done before but I can imagine it'll be a challenge. It could be as tricky as making the painting itself when you consider the whole act of viewing a painting, how your eye can be drawn across a piece or a feeling that it produces, it's a vague and personal experience. 

It's quite a high risk strategy really but I don't plan my paintings. It's a process of remaining receptive to my environment, so things like passages of writing, music, conversations etc can set me off in a direction, then it becomes a sort of messy game of chess, moving paint around on the canvas. The paintings teeter between figuration and abstraction, with narratives that come in and out of focus like the events in a dream.  

The paintings can take an afternoon to complete or a couple of months but eventually they have to have a weird sense if autonomy to them, as if they had been found a certain way with their own internal logic 

I'm looking forward to moving into my studio at Banks Mill, I've not seen it in person yet but from the videos and images I've been sent it looks like a space that will be conducive to making some interesting pieces. Since I've been working from my home studio for the past few years, I'm looking forward to being in a creative environment with other makers and getting to know everyone. I've got a lot of ideas brewing and I'm looking forward to seeing what impact Derby will have on my paintings. 

During his time at Banks Mill, Max plans to use his new studio to create a new body of work for exhibitions at The Derby Museum & Art Gallery and Mall Galleries in London 


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