Born in San Francisco, California and raised in Upstate New York, Maya Strauss combines physical and emotional memories and experiences using tactile painting methods and ephemeral subjects. She studied at Sarah Lawrence, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and at Cooper Union she received the Pietro and Alfrieda Montana Prize for Excellence in Drawing upon completion of her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has participated in group shows since graduating including, “Vanishing Artworks & Hoodoo Metaphysics” (9/2012-10/2012) at 1:1 Gallery in Manhattan, and “Come Together: Surviving Sandy” (10/20/13-12/15/13) in Industry City, Brooklyn. She is currently working in the Brooklyn Art Space studio building in Gowanus, Brooklyn and living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
About the artist's work:
All of my paintings start with an image that I have in my mind that has some strong emotional connotation to it. Sometimes that can mean that the image is a newspaper clipping or a painting that many people are familiar with, or sometimes it can be my grandmother’s feet or a tile floor that I looked at during a bad time. In any one of these cases I do not try to replicate a photographic image of these experiences or objects, I try to replicate the feeling that they give me. In so doing I try to highlight colors and textures and light qualities that I remember from looking at these images. I also try to think very deeply and intuitively about why these images are important and why I remember what I do about them.
I pick the images that I pick because I think that they are interesting visually but also because I think that they have a power all their own; a power that I want to connect to and communicate to others.
In the case of “Coney Sign” I was remembering a very specific feeling that many people are familiar with, but that I do not expect them to feel in looking at the painting. My goal is connection in any way. I do not need or expect to clearly relate a single idea, but I do hope to relate an unexplainable, ephemeral sensation.
In “Daisy Surrounded by Violet” I painted an image that is clear in some respects as it is a portrait of a dog, but it is also a very specific dog for me, and it represents a very specific moment of feeling and the image that I saw in that moment.
I use a lot of texture and layering in my paintings to create depth both visually and emotionally. I use cold wax and marble dust to thicken my paintings and create either matte (marble dust) or shiny (cold wax or linseed oil) surfaces. In “Daisy Surrounded by Violet” I used violet ink on the first layer of the painting to give luminosity to the violets. In “Coney Sign” I used a lot of linseed oil in some colors and very thick paint straight out of the tube in other areas to create a juxtaposition of textures and shine.