Juxtapoz // Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Alex Gross has a solo exhibition, Mysteries and Manners, opening at Jonathan LeVine Gallery Saturday, April 5th. For Gross’s first show at the gallery, he has created a collection of large oil paintings on canvas as well as a series of small collage paintings on antique cabinet photographs from the 19th Century. Mysteries and Manners will be Alex’s very first show in New York, marking his fifth solo gallery exhibition, to date.
Drawing from a vast range of artistic influences, Gross has a keen interest in, and appreciation of, foreign cultures and world history. His paintings often contain references to both vintage Japanese and Chinese advertising imagery, as well as contemporary American advertising.
Other important influences include Gothic Flemish painting, early American lithography, and Victorian wedding photography. In Mysteries and Manners, Alex incorporates elements inspired by these diverse sources, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of art history, in exploring such themes as globalization, industrialization, consumerism, alienation, reconciliation, and mortality.
Mysteries and Manners features highly involved, figurative paintings that contain enigmatic narratives. Birds and butterflies, snakes and goats, crashing aircraft, beautiful brides, and even ice cream cones populate Alex’s large canvases. There is a dreamlike quality in all of his work, creating unusual hybrids that form some strange new world, which we cannot fully decipher. Alex’s figures, barely emotive at times, seem peacefully ambivalent towards their complex, chaotic environments. His work suggests the unspoken distress of humanity—that, which is understood by all, yet remains hidden from human consciousness. Details at www.jonathanlevinegallery.com.