Last Spring, M’s grandmother passed away and we attended the funeral in Toronto, which, selfishly, gave me the opportunity to take a look at the galleries there. No matter what the purpose of a trip I always seem to make the time to look at the local galleries, some of my interest stems from the fact that I have worked as a curator for a number of years and also just a natural inclination and curiosity. The most interesting roster of artists was at Angell Gallery (www.angellgallery.com), which we just happened into – and my two absolute favorites are Derek Evans and Alex McLeod. Both artists are very young and just starting out in their careers (which equals very good price points).
Alex McLeod’s new media artwork is quickly gaining recognition with his current shows in Sao Paolo, Brazil (Museum of Images & Sound), New York City, Denver, and at the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art (MOCCA) in Toronto. Here is his artist statement:
Some of the wallpapers Alex McLeod offers on his website. How cool is that?
Alex McLeod constructs hyperrealistic 3D environments filled with crystalline mountains, fiery lakes, and rotund clouds, all rendered in a sickly sweet and gooey candy-colored palette. Recalling the wide-open vistas of Romantic landscape painting while at the same time staging otherworldly dystopias, McLeods CGI prints act as hybrid spaces that imply an almost infinite recombination of the past and present, the real and virtual. Beneath their seductively polished surfaces, of glimmering fortresses and floating geometric abstractions, lies a haunting stillness that comes forth in the aftermath of cataclysmic events. The cause of destruction remains unknown in these depopulated spaces – there are no people in these images, however much human traces remain in the rickety railways and empty fortresses. And yet, from the twilight of devastation shown in these strange dioramas lies possibilities for hope and rebirth in our own digital milieu through the artists new approaches to concepts as varied as ecological responsibility and the shared intersections between photography and painting.
Alex McLeod lives and works in Toronto, Canada. This past year he has exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, San Jose, Denver, Sao Paulo, Barcelona, Toronto and Sweden.
And Derek Evans:
For the past several years, I have been working on a series of photographs which explore cellular and sub-cellular biology, the landscape of the human body, The process by which I develop these photographs is both work-intensive and unique. Each individual piece begins as a sculpture, which I construct from a composite of waxes, resins and glues. These sculptures are then backlit using a variety of lights, during which time I take a series extremely close-up pictures. Having completed this first step, I am left with literally hundreds and hundreds of detailed shots.
In the next step, I first sort through these pictures, and then stitch selected photographs together (using Photo Shop) in order to create a single large-scale, highly detailed image. Because of the abstract nature of the original sculpture, these final images often bring to mind aspects of the human body such as (for example), the heart, the womb, and the kidney. In some other cases, the image may recall clouds, lava, or the celestial expanses of outer space. In the final step, I print the completed image as a light jet or c-print.
Seriously, if I had a little extra money I would be buying both of these artists. They are amazing!