When Maxwell Christian, a graphic design and art history major from Marywood, started a recent personal project, he did not imagine that his work would turn into a one-of-a-kind art exhibition.
However, following his personal project, he created his first exhibition, which he called “Altered States”. It’s a collection that he says both expresses who he is and showcases his talents.
âThe title Altered States was inspired by visions and dreams that people have on a daily basis that are often overlooked,â said Christian. âWhen you embrace the strangeness of things, you can bring out something beautiful. “
Living in a society changed by COVID, Christian has incorporated themes of loneliness, isolation and cover-up into his works. This is seen in the various masks hung throughout the exhibition and the isolation of the other rooms.
âMuch of it was inspired, as well as sweated, during the entire COVID ordeal,â Christian said.
Many different works can be seen in this exhibition, from a large Egyptian-inspired pyramid to large hanging masks inspired by ancient religious cults, as well as smaller pieces of metal welded together. Christian takes the idea of ââancient cults and religious gods and transforms them into his otherworldly creations.
Among his creations are two giant hanging guitars made of cardboard and paint. These fit into its ancient rock-style cult theme, as many ancient cults were associated with music.
There is also a lighting trick that Christian said he created to enhance the colors and effects of his art. The blues and purples in the lighting help bring it all together in a dark, fun and spooky vibe.
All of Christian’s pieces were created with the perspective that they all come from the same world. To create a sense of relationship, each piece has the same color palette, aesthetic, and style.
âSince I’ve been here, I haven’t seen a student do a solo show with such a breadth of work,â said Sue Jenkins, associate professor of graphics and web design.
âI am very impressed, especially since it is not just one medium; [he includes] illustration, design, sculpture, lighting and painting, âshe added.
For Christian, creating these works of art was a meaningful experience where he learned and tested new skills and techniques. It all started with his cardboard mask, titled Oog, which inspired him to create such a world. He drew his ideas, created them and kept recreating them until he had finished his masterpieces.
Christian said he decided to create both small and large works, not only to showcase his various skills, but also for the challenge that this presented and to leave a lasting impression on those who view his work. .
Christian and Jenkins both encourage more students to visit Altered States, a place filled with ancient cult-inspired artwork, spooky lighting, and magnificent artistry. The exhibition will be on display at the Kresge Gallery at the Insalaco Center for Studio Arts until November 13, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
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