MIAMI, FL.- 101/exhibit
presents Undertow, an exhibition of new works by Jason Shawn Alexander, the Los Angeles-based Expressionist figurative painter. The show, which opened to the public on Friday, December 2 through February 8, 2012 at 101 NE 40th Street, Miami, Florida, coincides with the publication of a book, also called Undertow. An invitation-only preview took place on December 1.
I am very pleased to present Jasons third exhibition at 101/exhibit, said 33-year old Sloan Schaffer, who gave the artist his first solo show in 2009, the same year he opened his gallery. His masterfully rich figures inhabit settings that, at times, evoke the stillness of theater. These paintings offer the viewer a glimpse of private moments, captured in the wake of a great receding void, said Schaffer. With his intense personal narrative combined with vertones of allegory, the paintings are imbued with an essential human drama that is his signature quality.
According to Schaffer, the new works come at a time of great success for the 35-year old artist. His confidence as a figurative painter is allowing more of the process to show in his work, said Schaffer. An expert draftsman, Alexander has developed a method for mounting paper to canvas, which enables him to use his inks at the ideas inception. He draws with fluidity and an energy he has long sought to bring to his paintings. The ink serving as a gestural skeleton, the artist then uses models to help pull out realism and sculpt the flesh of his pieces. His intimate works penetrate to the core of human integrity, often depicting images of figures wrenched in that critical space where the strained coordination of mind, body, and spirit, hangs in the balance of existential woe.
Jason Shawn Alexander
35-year old Jason Shawn Alexander's career started when his self-published illustrations caught the attention of mainstream and independent comic book publishers. Alexander worked for years as a draftsman for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Oni Press. His friendship with renowned painter Kent Williams found the two sharing a studio for a time, painting side by side. Today, he has worked his way to prominence as an authentic leading voice among young contemporary American figurative painters.
A keen autodidact, Jason Shawn Alexander draws from the vulnerability, fear, and underlying strength of his rural Deep-South upbringing in a small Tennessee town, with a population of 3,000, noted as the birthplace of the Delta Blues. Encouraged by his factory-employed father to pursue a career as an artist, Alexander accrued through staunch pragmatism and southern tenacity an extensive knowledge of fine art. Citing major influences in Francis Bacon, Anselm Kiefer, Kathe Kollwitz, Cy Twombly, Alice Neel, and Patrick Graham; his earliest and enduring inspirations came from the art books kept by his father of Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Goya, and Degas.
From his debut solo exhibition Insomnious at 101/exhibit, it was evident that Alexander had traced the thread and was pulling it through. A reviewer from ART NEWS was moved to write, Recalling Bacons portraits, the figures seem to cry out
Alexanders impassioned application of oil paints underscores the barely contained violence of the visions, lingering like intimations of half-remembered dreams.
Abstract elements now and again emerge by way of exaggerated gestures, elongated limbs, the doubling or tripling of images, hints of apparitions, or the intrusion of foreign materials and text into the paint, which satisfy the rich psychological nature of Alexander's work.
Alexander's work has been the subject of number of solo exhibitions, including the Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA, and 101/exhibit, Miami, FL, where he is currently represented. In 2009 his portrait hung in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. His work is collected both in the United
States and abroad.