Opening this Thursday, February 4th, 2016 at Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco, California is People's Printshop artist Alex Garant's solo exhibition "Wakefulness."
The show explores the sumptuous and vivid world of traditional portraiture, with a focus on Garant’s signature double-exposed figures. By overstimulating her audience and saturating her canvases in visual stimuli, Garant’s new body of work is both exciting and overwhelming all at once.
Fully immersed in color, pattern and texture - Garant’s portraits oscillate between hallucinatory and psychological. Staring at one of her double-eyed figures can cause cerebral tension and even phantom visions. It’s this kind of agitation that makes her work unique and warps the viewer’s idea of beauty. While classical portraiture exists to position subjects in the best possible light, Garant’s figures engage in a broader contemporary discussion of the female gaze. Through literal amplification, Garant’s paintings assert their authority from a female point of view. By sequestering their own sexuality, they in-turn withdraw the masculine influence so typically seen in female portraiture.
All of Garant’s figures represent a myriad of different emotions, all relatable to both the viewer and the artist. Garant describes her work as being deeply personal - “I believe each piece can be seen as self portraiture. Some of the colors, patterns and expressions I choose to use truly express a specific emotional phase of my life.” With this kind of individualistic approach, the viewer can follow Garant’s emotional voyage through weaving imagery and soft ombre tones.
Alluring and poignant, “Wakefulness” is a culmination of surreal paintings in Garant’s distinct off-register style. The artist explains… “Wakefulness is a recurring brain state of consciousness in which an individual is conscious and engaged. My latest series is meant to initiate reactive responses to the external visual stimuli offered through the superposition of figurative elements and vivid colors.”