I came across Alexa Meade’s work recently. Her works have the surprising effects and I’m sure I’ve already seen some of them on my social media feed somewhere.
Alexa Meade challenges our perception of art by turning the relation between life and painting to the opposite direction. Art usually means “coming from life”; life informing art. But she managed to show us there’s the possibility to something opposite, something new: art can come to life, literally.
Life imitating art.
Meanwhile, every piece of her work is not just three-dimensional, but four. There’s a time element that’s crucial in her work process. The painting is done on models who are there, on site. They will be there as an existence that is only there for a period of time. And that time is the main part of her artistic work. What remains afterwards – the photos, the memories of the viewer who were there, the making-of videos like this one – is, again, only the description of her work. Her work is timed in that way.
But her work is also timeless. In a society where everything, especially ourselves and experience can be commodified or materialised, Meade’s work challenges our perception of our own existence. Can we live in a painting that’s more beautiful like a dream than our own life?
Meade creates the “canvas” in the three-dimensional space, and puts her objects on that canvas and paints over them to make them fit into that seemingly two-dimensional space.
Alexa Meade’s work reminds me of the work of Johannes Stoetter.
Both artists use painting on human body to create illusions. Both artists wow their viewers by challenge their perception of “what they see = what is” to “what they see = what it can be”. Their works are memorable and timeless.
How we can try to challenge ourselves and our viewers with our work?
What we can we challenge to understand and appreciate?
What can we break to preserve?