Maxson creates hundreds of small hand cut metal leaves arranged in clusters that form large-scale installations, as well as a series of butterflies made from pages of Natural History books, some dating back to the 19th century. The installations are made by individually inserting each petal, leaf or butterfly into the wall on thin wires. The result is an installation the feels as alive and organic as its subject matter, sometimes quivering in a breeze and casting delicate shadows against the structures supporting the work. Maxson has a taxonomists love for accuracy, but an artist’s eye for topography, thus creating elaborate and beautiful installations.
A skilled forager, Maxson gathers his own plant specimens, creating an extensive herbarium from which he bases his paper and metal reproductions, a practice that gives his manmade flora and fauna its inherent lifelike quality. Trained by his mother, an expert mushroom gatherer, the quest and seeking-in the woods, under freeway over passes, on a neighborhood walk-imbues his work with the natural pleasure of perceiving and looking at nature, in all its variety and surprises. The chance observations that make up his plant gathering are translated to the artist’s installation style, which may appear around a corner, or climbing a wall, discovered and not displayed.