KC Crow Maddux | Finger Trap

September 1 - October 9

High Noon is pleased to present KC Crow Maddux’s New York solo debut, Finger Trap. Maddux’s multimedia work centers around abstracted photos of his own nonbinary, transgender body, presented as photo gel transfers suspended in resin. The augmented photographs are surrounded by structures both organic and architectural which support, interact with, and extend the image, creating an idiosyncratic ecosystem that explores power dynamics, perceptual categorization, and the friction between the self and the social.

 

Whether hanging on a wall or freestanding, Maddux regards the sculptural elements as a “frame,” referring to both an enclosing border and something that helps shape meaning. By positioning the work this way, he removes the hierarchical dynamic between “picture” and “frame” and disrupts the expectation of the rectangular format, creating space for a trans-format where the boundaries of modality are blurred. In Arms Race and The Germ, the frames take on a fantastical, almost animated sensibility, imbued with their own otherworldly tactility in the glossy, flocked, or chrome surfaces. They are comical superstructures in concert with the body.

 

The works maintain a circus-like tension amidst the commingling of forms, depicting a moment of suspense, a balancing act, or a visual pareidolia. The decision to obfuscate the photographic images doesn’t censor, but rather emphasizes with acuity the sociological impetus to categorize the body, exemplifying its limitations in conveying true identity.

 

The forms also mimic language and gesture, borrowing from typographical anatomy such as glyphs and serifs. This integration of linguistic symbols into the work’s physiology riffs on the idea of legibility and the language used to understand and talk about the body. In Evolutionary Revolutionary, Maddux captures the stasis and structure of the relief sculptures in Monument of the Valier (1705-1708) at Santi Giovanni e Paolo, but constructs the figurative elements from typographical shapes that share their name with a human counterpart, upending the glorification of the Baroque.

 

Defying categorization encourages broadening vocabularies and, by its nature, categorization is a problem that can be overcome by not trying to solve it. As Maddux notes, “If one [side of the conversation understands] fewer words than the other, it will be limited to those few words. Therefore, often the one who knows the least determines the terms of the conversation.”

 

This conversational element is also a consistent presence in the work as a narrative interaction between dualities. In Valentine, the only free-standing sculpture in the exhibition, a tower-like form is bisected by the silhouette of an invented, organic interiority. While straddling the form, the interior cutout also completes a base that solidifies the sculpture’s stance. Like Keith Haring’s Boxers (1987-1988), struggle in the work is not formatted as trauma, but as resistance. Both conflict and resolution are simultaneously present, and a drama is created that is contingent upon this endangered balance.

 

KC Crow Maddux lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the University of Texas, Austin. He has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the Fire Island Artist Residency, Lighthouse Works, Wassaic Project, and the Vermont Studio Center. His work has appeared and been written about in ArtForum, the New York Times, Forbes, Hyperallergic, NewFlesh, Original Plumbing, Filthy Dreams, and others. He has recently shown at Marquee Projects, A.I.R. Gallery, 1969 Gallery, Field Projects, Spring/Break, Haul, and Vox Populi. In 2020, his work was in the two-person inaugural exhibition by the Compton Trans Cultural District in San Francisco, and was recently included in “Not Me, Not That, Not Nothing Either” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.