lost in reverie
Barnard 24.03 - 05.05 2015
There is something strangely familiar about the paintings of Alexia Vogel; they seem at once intimate and distant. Magical and altogether enchanting they offer hints of a place sensed but not necessarily seen. Gentle, beautiful and powerfully immersive her work engenders a state of reverie wherein we experience an inkling of the ‘already and the not yet’.
Barnard Gallery is pleased to present Lost in Reverie, the artist’s first solo show with the gallery. The exhibition which includes large new works on canvas alongside paper works of a more intimate scale follows her distinguished graduate show entitled Familial Distance presented at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2013, for which she was awarded a Simon Gerson Prize for painting. Drawn to and inspired by the fading images of old family photographs, images mostly of her parents and siblings documenting a time and place before she was born, resulted in paintings evoking a strong sense of nostalgia, albeit of a fictitious nature. These expressions of a sentimental longing for a past of which the artist was not a part, of seemingly better times and places, culminated in a remarkably sensitive and beautiful body of work all the while threaded through with a discomforting tension between ‘the real and the invented’.
Lost in Reverie marks a shift in the artist’s thinking from romantic notions of place based on another’s memory to the envisioned world of daydreams. Picturing an imagined fertile paradise, the artist presents us with vistas not yet seen but longingly anticipated; echoes of Eden these Arcadian fragments and idyllic landscapes are projected through multiple thin layers of pigment onto canvas and paper. Prior to their being made manifest through the painting process, these captivating scenes are arrived at through the use of small, hand-cut paper viewfinders with which the artist crops into her source images looking for abstracted compositions within a photograph. The concept of distance and the space between things is explored literally and figuratively through the extremity of scale between the larger canvases and the small paper works creating a dialogue between notions of ‘near and yonder’. Moments of lucidity dissolving into states of dreamy meditation, these pastoral and otherworldly images are, as it were gradually exposed, imprinting themselves on the mind of the viewer, resonating on a level whereby they are not merely perceived but rather and more importantly felt. Absorbed by their ethereal beauty, we find ourselves yearning for a place that has to be believed to be seen but for now we remain lost in reverie.
Text by Alastair Whitton