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Like the famous psycho-analytical tool upon which the work was based, Makewell’s series of Rorschach-inspired acrylic on canvas compositions seek to meet their viewers where they stand. “They listen” Makewell says of his works, a refreshing refrain in a world full of art too intent on saying something.

Makewell’s work marks a departure from traditional artistic explorations of this psycho-analytical device, such as Warhol’s 1984 Ink Blot series, by abandoning the untextured, monochrome and simply structured basics of the original 10-part test and instead using the inherent mechanisms of the “ink-blot” creation to explore the fantastical far ranges of color and composition. 

For Makewell, a classically and highly trained artistic technician and former professor of visual art, the Rorschach-style-format was intriguing not only in its aesthetic and psychological potency, but also in the personal challenge it presented. The artist describes these works as a marriage of complete compositional control and perfect chance, with the necessary abandonment of total agency in the creation of the work presenting a particularly acute summons to Makewell, who was used to demanding unequivocal control from both himself and his students. 

Makewell invites his viewer to similarly abandon control in the viewing of these works. His awesomely dynamic compositions stand alone as complex visual stimuli for those who wish to take them exactly as such, while their nature and the historical precedent upon which they draw offer a potent psychological provocation for those who wish to take the works as probes into their own minds.

Madeleine O'Hare