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Keith Maxwell

Henrietta, 2017

Musician, Rennie Sparks, suggests that art provides a safe place to experience terrifying things. 

Henrietta explores both the elegance of a spider, and the capacity for such a fragile animal to embody darkness and paralyzing fear.  The sculpture is a metaphor for the relationship between art and life encouraging the audience to look at the world surrounding them, finding beauty and poetry in places considered dark, scary or mundane. Henrietta is named after the first huntsman I engaged in conversation.  A year spent living in a tree house taught me to keep the company of spiders rather than succumb to fear. On a formal level, the arthropod’s structure embodies qualities core to my artistic practice.  The lyrical lines and animated grace of a spider’s movement intrigue me.  My sculptures are, in essence, drawings in space; capturing movement and energy in a static form. Initial studies for this sculpture describe the body as a horse. The horse is a common thread throughout my practice, its form used as a metaphor for myself. Perhaps in Henrietta I become the spider.   I now pose the question to myself; is imposing the horse on the spider a desire to gain control of the darkness?

Mild steel pipe, plate and round bar.