Johansson Projects presents A Song for Water, a solo exhibition by Alexander Kori Girard. This exhibition consists of new paintings on panel, canvas, and works on paper that encapsulate Girard’s exploration of imaginative landscapes and spiritual animations. This most recent body of work - as well as the exhibition title, A Song for Water, speaks to Girard’s conscientious practice which dances at the intersection of personal past and collective history, navigating our multi-layered experiences with the environment and others.
Alexander Kori Girard fits comfortably in the Bay Area Figurative tradition, specifically in the Funk Art sub-genre epitomized by Roy De Forest’s untamed, visionary landscapes and mythologies. He is kin to a generation of artists that came of age in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late-1980s and early ‘90s. This group of outsiders and the communal spirit they represented is commonly referred to as The Mission School. Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen, Ruby Neri, Alicia McCarthy, and Barry McGee, among others too numerous to name, brought the street-wise aesthetics of the city—its denizens and misfits—into the fine arts scene. While many attended art school, these artists, like Girard, drew inspiration from peers as much as anything else and were so close knit in their rejection of the mainstream as to be almost tribal.
Girard’s paintings include washes and gestural flourishes that add shine to an already lush cast of characters and motifs. The hard edges soften to encourage viewers’ eyes to wander in the picture and their minds to engage the work’s narrative depths. Girard also considered in a recent conversation that the pandemic year may have had an impact on his practice. So much of the year was an unflinching meditation on living day by day in a state of not knowing. Perhaps that experience allowed the work to let boundaries dissolve and control give way to connection.
The artist’s marks rarely extend beyond a comfortable scale for writing or doodling. They operate like hieroglyphics, in the space where language, symbol, and visual sensations carry the story. For the artist, it is important that the viewer get a sense of the story but not crucial that everything is understood. He leaves more for discovery and room for imagination. The narrative is a means to make the work. Girard chases stories and follows intuition in a building block fashion, stacking one image upon the next until the surface is full and resonant.
Girard’s larger paintings on canvas have a divergent presence from his small paintings on panel and paper. They are uncharacteristically large, devoid of figures, and more formal. This new direction has a fascinating effect of creating sculptural conditions where the room and viewers are implicated in the work. In some ways, the large paintings represent the granular version of his smaller work; It is as if we, in Alice-In-Wonderland fashion, just walked through the looking glass and entered the artist’s universe.
Alexander Kori Girard (b.1979, Santa Fe New Mexico) comes from a line of creatives. His grandfather, Alexander Girard, was an iconic designer who gave Kori a sense of elevated aesthetics and a deep visual memory for folk art methods and traditions. His father was a talented builder who lived in the genius of the everyday. Girard graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City with degrees in both graphic design and illustration in 2001. Since then he has been both maintaining his own artistic and design practices, as well as working closely with his family to protect and promote the legacy of his grandfather. He is in the Berkeley Art Museum’s private collection and has shown with Jack Hanley Gallery and Curator’s Cube in Tokyo. He currently lives and works in Berkeley, California. He has been exhibiting with Johansson Projects since 2016.
A Song for Water runs from September 25 - December 30, 2021 with an opening reception on Saturday, September 25, 1-4PM.
For more, information please contact Johansson Projects at 510-444-9140 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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