The work of Aaron Garber-Maikovska (b. 1978, Washington, D.C.) encompasses painting, drawing, performance, and video—interconnected modes of communicating a vernacular of somatic expression. Garber-Maikovska describes the site of the body and its role in making art not simply as a tool with which to navigate our world, but as “a centralized perceptive sphere of emotional, physical, conceptual, and spiritual inquiry.”
Garber-Maikovska’s performances are set in private and public spaces, oftentimes in chain restaurants and mall parking lots. The artist approaches these cultural backdrops of late-capitalism, post-democracy, and neo-liberalism with kinesthetic investigations—gesture, rhythmic motion, dance, and vocal utterances. These guerrilla appearances that are often documented as video works summon the vocabularies of ‘60s and ‘70s video art in their utilization of minimal editing techniques, repetition, and physical action.
The gestural bravado, movement, and visual language present in this multi-faceted practice are synthesized in an effort to forge a new lexicon in painting. As curator and writer Jan Tumlir puts it: “[Garber-Maikovska’s] paintings accumulate into an embodied alphabet, a vocabulary, and at the same time an index of possible ways to negotiate space.” Working on the floor, Garber-Maikovska layers the surfaces of bright white ten-foot gatorboard or fluted polypropylene with electric color from pastels or oil sticks made of raw pigments, wax, and oil by the artist himself, giving rise to intricate compositions of abstract forms. Using the artist’s own body as a site of investigation, these works are corporal articulations yielded from a mantra-like exercise in muscle memory, an attempt to carve out a space for creative freedom in the midst of the social engineering and spatial division of the postmodern world.
Aaron Garber-Maikovska lives and works in Los Angeles. His work is represented in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.