Art

KC Crow Maddux: Every Body is a Puzzled Dummy

KC Crow Maddux, Untitled, 2019, inkjet print on transparent film, acrylic sheet, vinyl paint, MDF (Courtesy of the artist)

Elements that contradict can form partnerships that create realizations of familiarity. A body has parts, but the simplification of its identifiers that we use to build expectations, especially those around gender, is a form of control. Visual assumptions can only lead to one place—the future is cancelled. It must be renewed. KC Crow Maddux makes things come together. The chemistry of transformation is perfected in KC’s reliefs. There are equal parts photography, sculpture, drawing, and painting in these works. KC’s most recent exhibitions at Vox Populi in Philadelphia and Haul Gallery in New York were implored by beliefs that art and looking should not be inherited. What is viewed in KC’s constructions is a challenging new way to look at art and think about presumptions. KC’s body is new, endowed by a liberated vision that has, at best, a brief history. “I’m trans. Where do I go to see my history?” KC asks me.

KC Crow Maddux, Untitled, 2019, inkjet print on transparent film, acrylic sheet, vinyl paint, MDF (Courtesy of the artist)

“Think about how water takes the shape of a cup,” KC continues. A defined vessel is filled with many things, not one thing, and not with necessarily specific things, but with jaunty atoms and ounces that bounce around in unity. The weaving edges of KC’s work run the track of the exterior surfaces made of wood and plastic, with depicted hair follicles and matching angles that are painted past the physical object and onto the wall.

KC Crow Maddux, Untitled, 2019, inkjet print on transparent film, acrylic sheet, vinyl paint, MDF (Courtesy of the artist)

There is so much precision in the choreography of this work. The thing that we view is soaked in metaphors that play on very literal ideas that start so simply. Photos slip through slits and circles, oblong and obtuse. Encased in frames that are not perfectly rectangular. Whoever said a frame had to be perfectly rectangular? The white of walls is confused by the application of the same white painted onto parts on these frames, and other primary and secondary colors that take strange shapes off the frames and onto the walls. Whoever said there had to be a separation between object and the hanging surface? Together they are fully limitless, starting everywhere, ending nowhere.

Laugh you strange travelers! And you will be rewarded!

KC Crow Maddux, Untitled, 2019, inkjet print on transparent film, acrylic sheet, vinyl paint, MDF (Courtesy of the artist)

Saying no to conventions will eviscerate the toxicity of anything. The confines of defined lines, the power held by government and patriarchy, the norms of society must all be free game. A plate of glass will erupt when the right kind of pressures are applied. It was only after Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass was broken in transit that he exclaimed, “Now I can finally finish it!” Questioning behaviors will breed invention. Evolution is the future. Our bodies fail to be us with any kind of specificity. Places where bones and beliefs meet will glue new arrangements into bouquets of formidable aptitude. The acceptance of fiction is most honest when the lie of it all comes from the hands of a creative mind. KC grows such scheming organisms in these works. What deeper honesty could there be than the things that we, as individuals, nurture?

KC Crow Maddux, Untitled, 2019, inkjet print on transparent film, acrylic sheet, vinyl paint, MDF (Courtesy of the artist)

The system of art needs smashing. “I’m about taking clear things and making nonsense of it,” KC says. We are in a moment in time where everyone wants to profess diligence, change, and resistance. That’s good. We should be fighting against controls, conformity, and bigotry, but in the words of John Waters, “Gay is not enough anymore. It’s a good start but.” The future cannot be one thing; it needs to be grabbed by the hands of those with the limbs of new uncertainty. The only hope for whatever happens next will come from the things that make us unsure or even, uncomfortable. Questioning behaviors lead KC in constructing and executing the command of these works. The body of them is new, they elicit authority and in that regard, they speak clearly. These objects epitomize metaphors of communities–both trans and universal. The welcoming gestures of their simplicity ask viewers inside to find something deeper and more meaningful about themselves and the way they are capable of seeing.

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