Nick Maurer

Palimpsest of the Tempest

“The landscape disturbs me in my thinking. It is beautiful, and therefore demands attention.”

-Franz Kafka

I am interested in carrying literary forms into visual abstraction. I have made digital drawings and laser etched acrylic sculptures, but my primary practice is in painting. Experimentation is always at the forefront of my inquiry, making outlines, digressions, erasures, and reconstruction key elements in my work.

At the moment I am interested in palimpsests: (1) a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain. (2) something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

In my recent work, I paint gestural forms and then strip them back with a striping gel. Traces of this first painting remain. This narrative element interests me, the story behind the story, the circuity of history. I sketch in quasi-grids with pencil, structures like asymmetrical courses of brick or cinderblock on a wall. I then outline an art-historical landscape composition. Landscapes interest me because they have been and remain the least esteemed genre in painting. In light of human-caused climate change and other harmful ecological practices of the Anthropocene, this phenomenon warrants further investigation. I abstract forms and colors from the first painting and the source painting, mining the muted valences that exist between then and there and here and now, working with the tensions created by outlines and obstructions, the tensions between materiality and ephemerality, reality and imagination.

Nick Maurer is a visual artist and writer who lives in Costa Mesa, CA. He received an MFA from UC Irvine.