artists / curators / writers
Date of birth 31.Oct.59
Place of birth NORTHERN IRELAND
Country of residence United Kingdom
Alex Dewart’s painting are based on landscape and could be said to explore the space between : representation and abstraction; digital and analogue ; the simulated and the real.
They may be based on real places or be completely imaginary. It is an enquiry into the relationship between painting and the virtual imagery of the latest technology.
I am interested in the idea of the ‘Contemporary Sublime’.
This century has seen an explosion of the computerised reality; the scenery of New Zealand stretched, and manipulated in the Lord of the Rings in addition to the proliferation of computer games in which you can build your own world.
The field of animation has also given us many sublime experiences- the snowy Chinese mountains in Mulan; the episode in Monsters Inc which takes place in a warehouse, large beyond the imagination.
While my visual reference may come from the above, many ideas are often suggested by literature, music or poetry. The work also references the history of landscape painting. The history of this genre is littered with examples of manufactured worlds. Caspar Friedrich’s landscapes may look entirely natural, but their compositions are constructed with a mathematical rigour whose sole purpose is to induce in us a sense of the sublime – not to reproduce some ‘natural’ scene.
With the use of digital photos of real places and/ or computer improvisations , I create oil paintings on canvas inspired by these sublime visual experiences ‘on screen’. Painting has had many challenges and inspirations through technological development particularly over the past 2 centuries. By borrowing the enhanced colours of the computer screen, techniques of 2d animation and software paint packages I create ‘traditional’ oil paintings on canvas which engage with these new virtual worlds and question the place of painting within it.