THE BATTLE WITHIN by MAXWELL PREUS

FEBRUARY 19 – MARCH 1, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, March 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

The Battle Within is a series of painted and stained wood pallets that portray the artist’s experience with depression. By utilizing sequencing and both the floor and the wall for installation, the work evokes a tonal journey spanning congested darkness to something simpler and calm.

Bio

Maxwell Preus is a current senior at Augsburg University and is twenty-two years old. His senior exhibit delves into themes regarding mental illness and overcoming obstacles. He is interested in portraying the complexities of the human mind and spirit.

Statement

I enjoy sculpting large pieces in clay, typically beginning with a basic idea and then letting the pieces take on a life of their own. I allow the clay to have its freedom because sometimes things shift on you overnight or even break in the kiln. I expect these issues to happen so I don’t let the frustration build but rather try to create something special out of possible imperfections. Kind of like life. Things happen.

This past year I decided to explore another media. Much like the clay, I found an analogy to life in my wood pieces, specifically as to how they developed through my experience with depression. As I began creating projects using wood and paint, I found myself drawn to working with weightier pieces and the emerging images were rather dark. This seemed to coincide with how I was feeling. Upon returning from a semester in Spain, I felt a disturbing sense of hopelessness. Everything in my life was overwhelming. I even considered quitting school as each day was a struggle. Working with heavy materials proved to be centering for me and, figuratively speaking, I could escape what felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was through the creative process that I could peek through the blinders. Gradually the depression lifted and I felt like myself again.

I feel that I went through this difficult time so that I can empathize with those who suffer. I am lucky. I experienced a brief, yet intense, glimpse into the depths of despair that can haunt people for months, years, a lifetime, and I worked to portray this through my art.


images from exhibit