For the last 25 years painting has dominated the world of Marise Maas. As she pursues her need to capture beauty within the everyday, the act of painting has, for her, become a form of daily medication, helping to douse feelings of worry or concern through the act of paying attention to the ordinary things she encounters through the course of a day.
The appeal of Maas’ work lies in this admission that life, for the most part, happens within the rather uneventful ordinariness of daily routines and interactions; the bath is run, the phone is answered, the light bulb is changed. It is while surrounded by these small things that the greater highs and lows of life unfold. Maas states, ‘’I’ve always been interested in glorifying the banal. If you look closely at the smaller detail, you’ll find huge stories’’.
Marise Maas has been fascinated with horses and horse riding since childhood and the repeated depiction of horses within her works represents a form of symbolic stand-in for the often humorous, often tender, qualities of human desire and longing. Born in the Netherlands, Marise Maas immigrated to Australia with her family in 1982. Maas’ work is represented in numerous major collections nationally and internationally, including the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank, BHP Billiton, Swinburne University of Technology and National Australia Bank Collection. She lives and works in Melbourne.
While emotive connotations exist in her work, Maas pays greatest attention to the formal concerns of art making – in particular composition, line, shape and texture. Here she takes her cues from abstract art, embracing textured surface-qualities and flat two-dimensional space by painting large fields of monochrome colour. Often cool, neutral tones of grey and black are contrasted with bolts of turquoise, red or orange as the artist keeps her palette restricted and minimal. This allows the viewers’ focus to remain on the artist’s rich and variegated spectrum of mark-making.
– Excerpt from essay by Marguerite Brown 2017