With a BA in art and a BFA in illustration and graphic design, I work daily with color, design and typography as a professional graphic artist. In 2002 I returned to school to learn how to paint in oil, something missed in my college days. Having over thirty years of quilting and textile background many of my paintings include quilts, fabrics and ribbons–all favorite subjects of mine.
From November 2008 through March 2011 a group of painting friends and I operated “The Gallery” in Brea, California. We were able to showcase our work and open the gallery to the community through open calls with juried shows for students as well as photographers.
- Fullerton College; 2002 – Present (Painting Lab and Studio Painting)
- BFA Graphic Design/Illustration, June 1999; California State University, Fullerton
- BA Art, June 1996; California State University, Fullerton
- 2012 City of Brea Gallery; Something Superbly Small – Pint Sized Art
- 2012 City of Brea Gallery; Made in California
- 2012 City of Brea Gallery; A Graduate Introspective – Featured Local Artist
- 2012 Whittier Art Gallery; The Spirit of Art
- 2011 Whittier Cultural Arts Foundation; The W2 Art Exhibit
- 2011 Whittier Art Gallery; In a Word
- 2010 Rio Hondo College Student Gallery Special Exhibit: Crystal Maes, Selected Work 2003 – 2010*
- 2010 Orange County Center for Contemporary Art; Santa Monica; The Art of Summer
- 2009 Graves Gallery; Common Splendor; Solo Show
- 2008 – 2011 The Gallery; as a member of the cooperative gallery I participated in seventeen shows including Sweet Tooth, Itty Bitty and Itty Bitty 2, Out of Context, Small Works, New Artists–New Works, Click, Faculty Show, Sit On It, U+2, On With the Show, as well as being the Featured Artist and showing along with six other featured artists
- 2008 Sarah Bain Gallery; Small Works Show
- 2008 La Habra Art Association Gallery; Ordinary Objects
- 2007 Orange County Center for Contemporary Art; By the Running Foot
- 2007 – 08 Guggenheim Gallery, Chapman College; Orange Open
- 2007 – 08 La Habra Art Association; Member’s Show
- 2007 Fullerton College Gallery; Women’s Work is Never Done
- 2006 La Habra Art Association; Solo Show
- 2006 – 11 Orange County Fair
- 2006 Muckenthaler Cultural Center; Young Visionaries
- 2006 Anaheim Art Association; 42nd Juried Fine Art Competition
- 2005 City of Brea Gallery; Brea Art Association Juried Fine Art Exhibition
- 2005, 08, 10, 11 City of Brea Gallery; Made in California
- 2004 City of Brea Gallery; Land of the Free: Americana
- 2004 Muckenthaler Cultural Center; Second Biennial Orange County Juried Exhibition
- 2003 – 12 Fullerton College Annual Student Show
- 2003 – 08 La Habra Art Association; November Art Festival
- Jul 2010 Santa Monica; Jeffrey Crussell
- Apr 2008 – 12 Rio Hondo College; River’s Voice, Volumes 9, 10, 11 and 12
- Oct 2007 The Artist’s Magazine; 2008 Calendar
- Apr 2007 Rio Hondo College; River’s Voice, Volume 8, cover
- Jan 2005 The Artist’s Magazine
- Apr 2012 Fullerton College Annual Student Show, First Place
- Sep 2008 La Habra Art Association Member’s Show, First Place
- Apr 2008 Fullerton College Annual Student Show, Director’s Award
- Feb 2008 La Habra Art Association Member’s Show, First Place
- Aug 2007 The Artist’s Magazine, Finalist in the 24th Annual Art Competition
- May 2007 La Habra Art Association Member’s Show, First Place
- Sep 2006 Brea Art Association, Artist of the Year
- Aug 2006 The Artist’s Magazine, Finalist in the 23rd Annual Art Competition
- Jul 2006 Orange County Fair – Second Place, Juror’s Choice, First Place, Division Winner,
and Best of Show
- May 2006 Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Second Place
- Apr 2006 Fullerton College Annual Student Show, Best of Show
- Apr 2006 Anaheim Art Association 42nd Juried Fine Art Competition, Second Place
- Dec 2005 Brea Art Association Juried Fine Art Exhibition, First Place
- Nov 2005 La Habra Art Association, Third Place and First Place
- May 2005 Fullerton College Annual Student Show, First Place
- Jan 2005 The Artist’s Magazine 21st Annual Art Competition, First Place, Student Division, Still Life
- Nov 2004 La Habra Art Association, Third Place and Board of Directors Award, Special Award
- Jun 2004 Brea Art Association, Artist of the Year
This essay, written by Sheila Lynch appeared in the catalog from the show: Crystal Maes, Selected Work 2003 – 2010.
An Account of Paintings and Colors
In his celebrated work The Natural History,¹ first-century Roman historian Pliny the Elder recounts his famous tale of the power of illusion.
In Ancient Greece, as Pliny tells us, two artists were in a contest to prove which was the greater master of his craft. The first artist, pulling away the drape that covered his painting, revealed a still life of fruit that was so illusionistic birds began to flock to it, pecking at its painted grapes. Certain his talent had already won him the championship, the first artist smugly invited the second artist to pull back the drape that covered his, no doubt, inferior painting. The second artist replied, “But my painting is already uncovered. You see, it’s a painting of the drape itself.” Humbled, the first artist immediately conceded the contest to the second, acknowledging that his own painting fooled only the birds, while the second artist’s work had fooled even the painter himself. The fascination with paintings that “fool the eye” has been with us for millennia.
Crystal Maes could be both artists of Pliny’s story: the painter that delights our senses with mouthwatering compositions and the painter that makes us do a double-take in search of the boundaries between reality and invention. That Maes began painting in oils only eight years ago is astounding. Within that time not only has she produced a large body of work, but she has honed her craft to perfection. With a strong background in textiles, Maes unabashedly infuses her compositions with brilliant colors and a charming play between two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes—cat’s-eye marbles refract the black and white stripes of the tablecloth beneath them, cherry tomatoes dance the do-si-do with red and pink polka-dot fabric in toe-tapping rhythm. Maes never shies away from her joy of the decorative.
Filled with the buoyancy of Wayne Thiebaud’s and David Hockney’s seminal works and the earnestness of 17th-century Dutch still lifes, Maes’ Baroque-Pop sensibility seduces the viewer with color and pattern, then invites the eye to linger over the luscious surface and exquisite handling of paint. A single wrapped caramel—painted in ochres and violets and all the colors in between, yet no bigger than an actual piece of candy—draws from the familiar but upon closer examination becomes an explosion of abstract expressionist mark making. After being dazzled by Crystal Maes’ ability to “fool the eye” with an illusion of objective reality, we’re left to admire the talent she shares with the second painter of Pliny’s story. You see, Crystal Maes’ paintings aren’t about beautiful objects. They are, themselves, beautiful objects.
River’s Voice, A Journal of Art and Literature
¹ Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, ed. John Bostock and H.T. Riley; in the Perseus Digital Library (see Book XXXV: An Account of Paintings and Colors) <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu> (7 Nov. 2010).