|McLeod, Frozen Boat|
For most of Alex McLeod’s photographs of staged shoe box like dioramas, complexity and interest reside in the image’s multiple focus points, high contrast of vibrant colors, and reflective surfaces of the objects. No artist can go without comparison to artists and movements that have come before. History draws parallels, distinctions, and helps decipher what we are seeing and experiencing. It is true, there is nothing new under the sun, the human condition remains the same and everything answers to that condition. McLeod’s work is part of a decade long resurgence in surrealist themes akin to a lineage of artists that stage surreal events.
His work draws similarities to artists such as Gregory Crewdson and his 1990’s Natural Wonders Series and Mat Collishaw’s fantastical 2008 spinning carousel Throbbing Gristle (above). A slick, shiny, and smooth textural edginess is indicative of technological capitalism that has emerged as a signifier of contemporary pop culture. It appears in the paintings and sculptures by Jeff Koons and installations by Sylvie Fleury. McLeod is not afraid or fooled by a gimmicky deception. His dioramas are plastic and sterile self contained narrative landscapes that deliver this contemporary edge with a beautiful underlying hint of reality and imperfection indicative of the human condition. It is as if we are peering through the holes of Duchamp’s Étant donnés door and catching a glimpse of a nearly real world that we cannot quite contextualize at first glance because of the placement and visual complexity of the scene.
|McLeod, Frozen Cascade|
Viewers of McLeod’s work will want to visually dissect and label the various objects used to construct the image but they are constantly interrupted and distracted by the overall composition. It’s an awesome and refreshing world that allows us to take a break and stray just far enough from our everyday reality. McLeod’s work is one example of photography and digital manipulation at its best. To see more of Alex McLeod’s work visit Plus + Gallery. His work is also on view at Angell Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
|McLeod, Magic (left), Honey Town (right)|