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You’ve got to see it to believe it

March 12th, 2018

A collage image of fashion models, floral prints, and flowers.

ELLE MEXICO, DOLCE AND GABBANA. Image courtesy of the artist.

Do not adjust your screen or your eyeglass prescription. That’s not an illusion you’re seeing. It’s the latest edition of AGO Massive!

The AGO’s annual fundraiser – supporting our ongoing conservation, public programming and learning projects – returns April 19 with a mind-bending theme, Illusion.

Now in its 14th year, AGO Massive is Toronto’s ultimate contemporary art party. And this year will be bigger than ever.

A photo of Maxwell Burnstein in a white t shirt against a white backdrop.

Maxwell Burnstein. Photo by Christopher Sherman.

Massive Illusion will not only include the savoury bites and sips AGO fans expect, as well as a gorgeous architectural backdrop for photos, it will also feature five women DJs, keeping the party going throughout the AGO. This year we’ve got a remarkable contingent of contemporary Toronto artists whose work features illusions of their own making, thanks to mirrors, light and shadow, and distortion of perspective.

One of these artists is Maxwell Burnstein, a collage artist whose mix of fashion and high art has enthralled magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Elle, (and don’t forget his thousands of Instagram followers).

We spoke to Maxwell to learn more about his art and what he’s excited to bring to Massive Illusion.

AGO: How did you come to collage as an art form?

Maxwell: I adopted this medium at an early age, starting with making collages for the walls of my childhood homes. Images from print magazines formed both the canvas and subject matter for my collages.

AGO: What draws you to the physical process of collage-making, as opposed to digital collages?

Maxwell: The design process has become distinctly digital and is counter to my values within the maker movement, which looks to preserve analog practices. Artwork created by hand that transcends digital spaces through scanning allows me to share my work in social galleries like Instagram and in fine art museums like the Art Gallery of Ontario.

A collage of a man with a neighbourhood street scene underneath.

JETLAG, Thailand 2017 (Exhibit). Image courtesy of the artist.

AGO: What appeals to you about mixing human figures and other objects or backgrounds to trick the eye in your collages?

Maxwell: Analog collage lets you physically break down conventional forms and create new perceptual spaces. The negatives spaces carved out by the X-Acto knife let the layered imagery, or negative space, fill in the artwork.

AGO: Why are you excited to show your pieces at AGO Massive, under the theme of Illusion?

Maxwell: My collage technique challenges the gazing eye by perpetuating the theme of Illusion, in line with this year’s theme. It is an honour to be recognized for my achievements in the collage movement and be asked to create an installation for AGO Massive.

Be sure to see Maxwell’s work and more by getting your ticket to AGO Massive today!

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