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Drum Circle, Central Park
Maxwell Stevens

Drum Circle, Central Park



Title: Drum Circle, Central Park
Year: 2018-2019
Size: 160x130 cm
Technique: oil on canvas

“Drum Circle, Central Park” is an oil painting by Maxwell Stevens depicting drummers, dancers, and onlookers near the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, a popular live music destination in New York City. The painting is superposed with flowing brushstrokes and impastoed elements of landscape- inspired abstraction, creating sharp dissonances and unexpected harmonies in a space that oscillates between the figurative and abstract elements at play. It was the first in a set of paintings to focus on the subject of musicians in the park, and was shown as part of his “Autumn Leaves, New Paintings” exhibition. The happenstance nature of how we collect in the city’s public spaces is evident throughout the series, as background characters shift from random tourists to friends and families relaxing outside, yet they retain the tensions of unpredictability that underlie urban living. In paintings such as “Drum Circle, Central Park“ and “Blue Dancer” performers interact directly with passersby, the dynamic abstractions sliding across each image, while eliciting the unpredictable nature of improvisation in art, music, and life.

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