Artist Profile

Allen Maddox Investment Artist

Born 1948, Died 2000

Born in Liverpool, Maddox arrived in New Zealand in 1963 and studied at the School of Fine Arts, Canterbury University until 1968. He has exhibited regularly in contemporary New Zealand exhibitions and was a finalist in the Benson and Hedges Art Award in both 1976 and 1978.

Allen Maddox's paintings have had both applause and criticism for their power to astound, uplift, electrify and stun. With great intensity, Maddox has made paintings out of simple crossed diagonals and the grid, with large gestural sweeps, the criss-crossing of strong colour is built to a sculptural thickness throwing the background into sharp relief. Maddox is an action painter in the original existential sense. Dribbled and splattered brush strokes remain as evidence of the work's progression.

Although not planned, each work is the result of decisions about colour and intensity, thickness of paint and length of stroke. The symbolism of the X in his work contains an unsettling aspect for the viewer: the signature of the illiterate? or a cancellation of everything beneath it and all that implies about Maddox's attitude to his work ? Art critics have discussed his work in terms of aggression, violence, depravity and the degeneration of mankind. However Maddox enjoys the reputation of being deliberately provocative: maintaining the neo-expressionist myth of the artist as wild and uncontrollable rebel-hero. There is no denying his enormous energy, his power with colour and his ability to express this with excitement in his painting.

The following comment about Maddox was written in New Zealand Art: A Modern Perspective by Elva Bett Theorists chart the rise of Maddox to the front ranks of artistic acceptability with various accolades or asperities, but his work testifies to the creative impulse that dictates the action that impels the brush in a near-involuntary act of pure painting...."

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