Saturday, January 3, 2009

ISBP installment no. 9: Steven Alexander

With this installation of the Interactive Studio Blog Project, we get a nice peek into Steven Alexander's studio, which is up in Dalton, PA, somewhere north of Scranton. Steven teaches at my alma mater, Marywood University. Make sure to visit Steven's wonderful Studio Journal blog, where he generously shares his work, process, and impressions and observations of other art and artists, such as the work of Brazilian painter Goncalo Ivo. I highlight this because as you'll see in the post, Steven has included a photo of Ivo's studio. The space is mighty impressive with a huge array of paints and brushes laid out with precision, like a surgeon's tools. This precision is very evident in Ivo's intensely colored geometric abstractions.

Now, back to Stephen and his work. After writing the above, I became aware that there is a real connection between Steven's workspace, which I've had the chance to see through his blog posts, and his work. I see an openness, an expansiveness that is present in both, and experience a sense of place in many of Steven's paintings. Of course, it's not at all that simple. Please see Steven's statement below...

Meteor Beach 2008
96 x 96 acrylic on 4 canvases

My work is an exploration of relations that reside in the constant flux of sensory events. I am interested in the interaction between the painting and the viewer's imagination and experience; in the painting's catalytic potency - it's potential to generate unspecified mobile meaning.

Color operates in this work and in the world as a kind of pure energy, dynamic, capricious, evocative. The surfaces emphasize the sensual rather than analytical nature of the process, and attest to the pervasive presence of time. Within the structure of the paintings, archetypal dualities of male/female, earth/sky, internal/external are inevitably implied; not as opposing forces, but as interdependent aspects of an animate whole. In this sense, these paintings might be regarded as open-ended cosmologies, or as chunks of unencumbered raw reality, or to use John Cage's words, "like Nature in her manner of operation".

I am trying to build, out of color and substance, a place for the viewer's consciousness - where unexpected associations and resonances may occur, where history merges with the present moment, and the stuff of life, love and desire has corporeal presence - states of being, embodied in paint.

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