RUNE – New works by Rob Maxwell – 29.06.18

RUNE is a collection of over 25 new works by Inner-West artist Rob Maxwell based on ‘Odin’s Quest after the Runes’, from the Norse poem the Hávamál.


ROBMAXWELL Detail of Raido Korczyndale
Detail: Raido – Korczyndale, near Goulburn. Mixed media on canvas, 2018

Maxwell – historically a direct descendant of Odin himself – explores themes of deep ancestry, lineage, personal experience, trauma and inheritance in his show, across a diverse range of media.

Re-enacting and relocating Norse ritual and symbolism in 21st century Australia, RUNE offers a unique, contemporary experience on the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark, via Maxwell’s distinctive visual language of postmodern abstraction. RUNE is a deeply personal narrative journey within a conversation between the deep past and the present moment.

“Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
From a word to a word, I was led to a word,
From a work to a work, I made works.

“Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs,
Many symbols of might and power,
By the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
Graved by the Utterer of Gods.”

-Hávamál, 140-141



Enmore-based contemporary “artist-archaeologist” Rob Maxwell: Provocative, dangerous, queer, and mildly radioactive.

Maxwell is a modern polymath. A First Fleet descendant and 5th generation resident of Sydney’s Inner West, he is also a born Witch trained in Cornish Craft, a former notorious occultist, proud member of The Satanic Temple, and is also a globally recognised contemporary archaeology academic for his work in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

As an artist, he is known for his unique, subversive, and oft-times dark or distressing subject matter, an aesthetic he terms “Horrorism”. Maxwell has also become notorious amongst collectors for his use of spontaneously-abstractive treatments such as his firecolour technique of torching wet oil paintings, as well as using ash, spray paint, UV-active pigment, and live radioactive material in his works.

His artwork is held in collections across the globe, from fantasy botanical watercolours to oils, mixed media works, radioactive installations, terraria, vivaria and photography.

The world’s first archaeologist to survey the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in 2010, and again the first to work on the radiological event in Fukushima in 2016, his academic work on social collapse and radioactive archaeology has been covered by National Geographic, the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail. Rob is also the first urban explorer admitted as a Fellow International of The Explorers Club since its inception in 1904.

His influences include Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko, Keith Haring, Leigh Bowery, James Acord, Orlan, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Ai Weiwei, the Zero movement, Dada, 21st century horror culture, the architecture of the New Brutalism, and 1980s Postmodernism.




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