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Art Beat

A decade or so ago, I used to run across the work of David Maxwell in group shows on a fairly regular basis. I always said nice things about it, and one day the artist contacted me to invite me to his home studio in Miramar. This big bear of a man was a gracious host, and I was amazed to see the cramped spaces from which his neopointillist paintings emerged. Now, three years after his untimely death, it's gratifying to see him get a mini-retrospective, "David Maxwell: To the Point," at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, where a small but enormously satisfying selection of about 15 paintings is on display in the auditorium. The twist to Maxwell's art – I don't think it was mere gimmickry – was that he applied the techniques of pointillism to contemporary subject matter, meticulously building his imagery from tiny dots of pigment. The Chicago-born artist was also a concrete construction worker by trade, and so he was especially drawn to the sorts of things he knew well, such as pieces of heavy equipment and industrial job sites. (A good example is the triptych T.Y. Saurus, a 1999 "portrait" of an earthmover at T.Y. Park in Hollywood.) As we can see here, he was also a visual poet of nighttime urban scenes, as in Trump Plaza Reflections (1990) and Nocturnal Memorial (1998), which captures the neon-laced building that sits in Hollywood's Presidential Circle. Not surprisingly, Maxwell was also friends with another great realist, Duane Hanson, for 30 years, and if you duck upstairs before the end of the month, you can see Hanson's sculpture of a man on a riding mower, for which Maxwell modeled – a particularly apt marriage of man and machine. (Through July 19 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton. Call 561-392-2500, or visit

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Michael Mills

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