Artist Max Hembrow has secured a solo exhibition at VJB Arts, serving as a platform for Max to unveil his new body of work. The exhibition promises to be a captivating display of his exceptional talent and artistic vision.
VJB Art curator, Vanessa Brady, founded VJB Arts in 2007. Being an artist herself, Vanessa started the consultancy to help emerging artists get a foothold in the industry by working with corporate businesses to sponsor free exhibitions in prime London locations.
Max was born in Oxford in 1994. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Bournemouth in 2018 and has had professional training at the Florence Academy of Art and the Paris College of Art.
His paintings combine elements of the classical European tradition and School of Paris Modernism established by Picasso, Braque, Cézanne and Matisse, with a particular interest in musical motifs and the treatment of the figure in Picasso’s analytical cubism.
Max’s paintings of the figure interpret Picasso’s technique of dissecting the subject from multiple viewpoints, using a simplified language of intersecting lines and numerous overlapping planes to construct an image of the body fragmented and distorted by the contemporary media. In a break from the traditionally simplified palette of colours common to early cubism, in some paintings, Max embellishes the figure and surrounding space with patterns of strong primary colours suggesting the vibrant and intense colour of stained glass panels. In others, these patterns suggest a natural, ever-changing environment, both beautiful and chaotic.
A few years ago, Max reached out to the OM community regarding his exhibition at the 508 Gallery in Chelsea. He was thrilled to welcome a few familiar faces from his time at Millfield to the opening reception. Additionally, Max had the opportunity to exhibit at the Millfield Polo Invitational in 2019. Speaking about the event, Max mentioned, "I still maintain contact with many of my friends from school, and quite a few of them attended my private view on the 15th of June. It's wonderful to share my recent accomplishments and allow other OMs to see what I've been up to." - Max.
In his series of lute paintings which reference the appearance of instruments as standard objects in cubist still life paintings, Max takes as his starting point the brevity of a note plucked on a lute, the sound of which almost immediately disappears once played. He uses this as a metaphor for the act of painting – “plucked” from a moment in time – an idea underscored using collage and found materials in these works, including eighteenth-century sheet music belonging to his great-grandmother. In these paintings, working both intuitively and strategically and often influenced by music, he constructs layer upon layer of rich colour and painted marks responding to rhythm, harmony and implied motion.
Max’s work is included in numerous public and private collections including Radcliffe Science Library, Oxford University, and The Arc, Shoreditch. Selected exhibitions include: Solo Exhibition, VJB ARTS. (2023); Cubism Reimagined, 508 Gallery. London (2022); Millfield Polo Invitational, Kingweston House, Somerset (2019); Free Range, Old Truman Brewery, London (2018); Project Space 5, Arts University Bournemouth, (2017); Structural Genomics Consortium, Radcliffe Science Library, Oxford University (2017).
Click here to visit Max’s website.