|”Abstract painting is the poetry of painting; it exists to converse with you in solitary moments as in the solitude it was created. It doesn’t tell you what it means, it suggests, teases and eludes, perhaps even whispers to you when you can’t sleep at night. And even as the words in a sentence may change their intonations with time so may the color passages shift in your eyes.”From the time he was four years old Max Hammond was destined to paint, as he began on the walls of his home, a budding muralist. As he ran along the edges of the salt marshes of the Great Salt Lake, he was struck by the inescapable solitude of the vast stretches of this area, from the absolute flatness of the salt flats to the surreal quality of the marshes. It was this desolate landscape he began to paint in college. Earning a B.F.A. at the University of Utah, Hammond was formally trained, emphasizing classical figure drawing in addition to his love for landscapes. After winning a trip to Mexico for six weeks, this rural boy was struck by the way the Mexicans used undiluted colors to bring life to what appeared to be stark living conditions. It was at this point that color began to take on a new life in his paintings.
Hammond left Utah to begin a M.F.A. in painting at Arizona State University where he won the prestigious Nathan Cummings travel award throughout Latin America, where he was again saturated in a world of color and ancient abstraction. Following his thesis show, he was invited to join the Elaine Horwitch galleries and now shows on both coasts as well as Arizona. His work is widely collected, and appears in the permanent collections of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Finova Corp., the City of Scottsdale, and the City of Mesa among others. Hammond has had solo shows nearly every year for the past fifteen years. His current work is based on the planar (in terms of geometry) landscapes of the West, where he weaves in and out of abstraction, sometimes almost recognizable, then blurring to pure color, form and texture.
Hammond comments, ”Abstract painting is one of the purest forms of painting. The primary element is color. . .how color can twist at your most inner being, about the certain kind of miracle that happens when one color lies next to or over another and becomes magical. It’s about line, soft, timid, hard, submerged, leading you, constraining you. It’s about the element of shape and texture, about the caress of brush against canvas.