Acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 152.4 cm / 60 x 60 in.
Alex Gardner’s cool, surreal canvases portray androgynous, mostly featureless Black subjects situated amid spare color fields. Gardner uses dark, inky hues to render these figures’ skin and adorns them with pastel-tinged clothing. This contrast creates both tactile warmth and a sense of distance, which is amplified thanks to the sitters’ lack of recognizable features. These anonymized forms variously raise questions about racial identity, gender roles, and the chilly nature of digital interactions. The artist has referenced Old Masters including El Greco and Michelangelo, giving art historical traditions a contemporary update. Gardner studied at California State University, Long Beach, and has exhibited in New York, London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and Mexico City. In 2019, the SCAD Museum of Art mounted the first U.S. museum exhibition of the artist’s work.