Allen Maddox

Liverpool, United Kingdom, 1948-2000

Born in Liverpool, Allen Maddox arrived in Napier as a teenager. He studied at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in Christchurch under Rudi Gopas until 1968. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Maddox pursued a purist form of abstract expressionism, although this is still too narrow a category to adequately describe his work.

Around 1975-6 he adopted his instantly recognisable “X” motif, which forms the fundamental building block of many of his works. This mark may have begun as an act which negated an error, the crossing out of whatever wasn’t going right in a given painting. Eventually, these Xs pleased the artist enough to be worth retaining in their own right, and grew to fill the whole canvas or assembled themselves into grids. The fugue of Xs reasserted themselves as the dominant feature of his painting again in the 1990s, this time in far looser compositions. With repetition, they gained emphasis and authority. They can be read simply as a basic geographic form, although others have suggested they allude to the Greek letter chi (the initial letter of Christ) and thus to Maddox’s religious faith. X the unknown. X the signature of the illiterate on a contract. X marks the spot. More than likely, however, X blots out and defiles the pristine void of the painting’s surface.

Essays
Auction Results

untitled

1978

acrylic on loose canvas

1270 x 1485mm

Achieved $24,150

untitled (X 53)

1976

oil on canvas

945mm x 920mm

Achieved $8,000

Grid & Green

1976

acrylic on canvas

2700mm x 2120mm

Achieved $30,485.00

A Broken Egg

1991

acrylic and pastel on paper

720mm x 520mm

Achieved $6,566.00

a hole in the head

1996

oil on canvas

610mm x 610mm

Estimate $10,000 - $15,000

X 69

1976

oil on canvas

580mm x 520mm

Achieved $8,793.75

Head

1995

oil on canvas

915mm x 915mm

Estimate $10,000 - $15,000

untitled

c. 1983

acrylic and pastel on card

230mm x 275mm

Achieved $1,801.88

untitled

c. 1983

acrylic and pastel on paper

355mm x 280mm

Achieved $1,261.31

untitled

c. 1991–94

acrylic on paper

354mm x 232mm

Achieved $3,904.06