HONEYMOON BY ALEX MCLEOD AT DIVISION GALLERY AUG 27 - OCT 10, 2015
ALEX MCLEOD primarily, digitally builds a place, a landscape, a land perhaps, whose geological components are still discernable yet virtual. A thwarted galaxy, seemingly ready to implode, the endless library aisles strewn with books with blank covers and pages and a snowy path leading you into infinity. These landscapes have the precision of diagrams yet presented as photographs that lack the traces of accuracy, the inscribed memory is not solidly engraved yet left afloat in the atmosphere for future pioneers.
The video elements compliment these fabricated landscapes with modern technology pressing the issues of interconnectivity and mass evolutionary concepts. McLeod furthers his visual oeuvre with again, discernable sculptures portraying sinking ribs which McLeod explains, "were better portrayed as an actual three dimensional form rather than the two dimensional print". Hoping to "illicit a different reaction from the viewer". However, "they embody the same build / decay trait that the prints have".
As photographs, I am relating them to one of the first influential photographers Henri Cartier - Bresson who popularized street photography back in the very early 1900's. As he was a master of the candid photograph, McLeods images have a certain candidness to them. The broken glass, a common image on dropped mobile devices a shattering of the present post-modern tropes and a reminder of the infinite disposal society that we bear. The mast of the sinking ship in "DEADBOAT" a probable scene but then realizing that the ship doesn't actually exist as we one day won't, a candid reminder of our own mortality.
McLeod's digital images are created with software but are seemingly taken, in the sense of clicking a shutter, to capture the moment and essentially the essence of what the present could be visually in the future.
Alex McLeod lives and works in Toronto. An OCAD graduate, McLeod studied drawing then switched to computer-generated digital imagery. His works have been presented widely in Canada, especially in Montreal, Toronto, and Regina, but also in the United States, like New York, Hamilton, Philadelphia, Chicago, and in France, Spain, Sweden, New-Zealand and Brazil. In 2009, he received a visual art grant from the Council of Art of Toronto. Alex McLeod’s works are featured in many private and public collections, notably TD Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, Museum of Contemporary art of Canada, Bank of Montreal, and MMPI Canada.
TUSSLE MAGAZINE: Can you share how the exhibition title, HONEYMOON, relates to your work?
ALEX MCLEOD: I wanted have both a hallmark title, (as this was my 10th show) and a sense of place. We have a honeymoon, (like a fullmoon) in June, perhaps elsewhere in the universe a planet's moon is always honey coloured. Essentially its a vague reference to space and location.
T M: You showcase a lot of video loops on instagram are these prototypes for other works?
A M: I suppose they are excersises. They allow me to work outside of my aesthetic and learn new things, as well as create unique (almost) daily content.
T M: Does sound ever become a facet to your video work? If so do you create the sound as well?
A M: Yes I used to up until recently, The two works "BLOODMOUNTAINS" (a new video work, revisits the opening sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, where an aerial wide-angle shot sweeps over a menacing and sublime mountainscape.) and "DEADWATER" are silent
T M: With Digital Media being a relatively new medium, what are the struggles/limitations that you have faced when developing/presenting your work in the past?
A M: File sizes can be an issue when uploading, compressing videos, digital fabrication. They all have their share of benefits and unknowns. I try and get the work off the computer and to the printers or fabricators as quickly as I can so if there are any snags there is ample time to remedy them.
T M: What are you hoping to conveying to the viewer who watches your videos?
A M: I would like my viewers to experience a space that doesn't exist. Creating videos allows the audience to engage in the work in a very different way, essentially anywhere in the world can view the animations the same as if they saw them in the gallery, however the print works are so much larger than they appear on screen. I feel like they fill that void for viewers that can't visit the gallery in person.
T M: What visually inspires your digitally generated landscapes?
A M: This show was heavily inspired by "Skyrim", "Dragon Age" and "The Cosmos". There was also a book that felt instrumental in creating some of the pieces, its called "Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension" by Matt Parker.
T M: What is the viewer gaining by “questioning the dichotomy between the real and the virtual” when viewing your digitally fabricated landscapes?
A M: Perhaps nothing. What a viewer may gain is dependent on their desire to engage. If anything I find it interesting to bridge the ever shrinking gap between the real and virtual, and to really consider if the two are different at all.