Maja Marx (South Africa, b. 1977)
Maja Marx holds a BA Tech Fine and Applied Arts Cum Laude from the Tswane University of Technology (1999) and an MFA in Fine Art (Cum Laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand (2008). Marx’s paintings are hyper-activations of the surface. Each work starts by mapping photographed abstractions – compositions captured from the world around her, onto the canvas. She then allows this process of transcription to self-proliferate. Once the optical field becomes alive, Marx uses the act of painting to literally ‘stare herself’ out onto the canvas – each layer of paint, each new engagement converses with those beneath to become rich self-referential fields in which the physical act of looking is foregrounded. Marx’s rich surfaces, like veils, membranes or skins occupy the space where visual information from the exterior meets the physical act of perception, that point where the world comes towards the eye to meet the eye staring itself out onto the world. Marx is a fellow of the Ampersand Foundation (New York/ Johannesburg) and a participant of MAPS (Master of Art in the Public Sphere); an exchange between the Wits School of the Arts, Johannesburg, South Africa and the Ecole Cantonale d’art du Valais in Sierre, Switzerland. Her works have been featured in several solos and collective exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the ELIA Exhibition, Cuenca, Spain and Gent, Belgium (2006) and the South African Pavilion at the 55th La Biennale di Venezia in 2013.