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Allen Maddox
New Zealand 1948 - 2000

Allen Maddox has the reputation of being one of New Zealand's finest exponents of abstract expressionism Like the late American painter Jackson Pollock and Maddox's close contemporaries Phillip Clairmont and Tony Fomison, his life typified the romantic concept of the hard-living artist.ᅠ In spite of the general art world trend away from abstract expressionism Maddox maintained the integrity of his style creating intelligent works that are captivating and invigorating - works that have been described as “images for the hardcore art lover.” (Keith Stewart, 'Telling the whole story', Sunday Star-Times, Feb 8, 1998).

In 1975 Maddox began his 'crosses in boxes' theme that brought him to the attention of the New Zealand art world.ᅠ What began as an act of negation - the crossing out of a work that was not going well - came to be a positive new direction for Maddox and remained an enduring motif for over twenty years.

As a symbol it has been interpreted in numerous ways, and Maddox's Christian beliefs open his work up to many interpretations.ᅠ He has referred to his work as 'sublime', confirming the notion that at times his painting, like that of numerous 19th century landscape painters, was an attempt to direct the viewers’ thoughts towards a spiritual realm, specifically that of a Christian God.ᅠ He has also used the cross in other religious contexts as it appears in the Latin monogram for Christ (an X superimposed over the capital letter P).ᅠ This symbol can also be read as the first and last letters of the Latin word for peace - pax.ᅠ This then creates a paradox in that while the ‘X” was discovered through an act of negation, Maddox has also used it to evoke its opposite, peace.

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