1975, 1000 x 840mm, Oil on board
Allen Maddox was born in Liverpool and emigrated to Aotearoa in 1963. He attended the University of Canterbury’s Ilam School of Fine Arts. For most of his career, he worked with the ‘X’ motif, initially as a kind of negation of previous unsuccessful paintings. After dispensing with the need to plan compositions by consistent use of a ‘crosses in boxes’ format, the artist was able to get straight into a work without encountering formal difficulties. His later paintings are looser in structure. The artist did not see them as ‘finished’; they were removed at random for exhibition instead of being worked on for an indefinite period.
Maddox described himself as an Abstract Expressionist, and viewed his move into this type of painting as a ‘great liberating force’. In the tradition of the American gestural Abstract Expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he adopted a highly energetic method of paint application in which his personality and emotional state played a vital role. The resulting works are free and spontaneous, functioning as a record of the particular moment when the ‘act’ of painting was performed, hence the other name for the approach: action painting.