Stuart Hamon SEEDS AND BONES
Julie V. Hansen, Ph.D. SEEDS AND BONES
Garda Alexander SEEDS AND BONES
It is part of human experience to push forward to a future and leave the past behind. What has gone before is imper- manent, ephemeral, a memory encoded into momentos. Our inevitable biology produces seeds that cast part of our immortal selves forward into uncertainty and leave traces of our mortal selves as relics of who we once were, of what we thought we believed.
Seeds are products created by Nature, which are then nurtured, and finally evolve into bodies and brains accor- ding to a plan.
In human organisms, it may be that our greatest creation is our ideas. Along with the information carried in our genetic encoding, these ideas become the vehicle of our futures. And when we contemplate the origin of these ideas, we are witnessing the act of potential that directs us to a single future rather than to hundred others.
Garda Alexander About my work: COLOUR – FORM – SPACE
My art work is inspired by nature and the human body. The work is a process in exploring new environments, materials, cultures and myself. Through my various stays abroad, I find it exciting to explore a new continent as its symbolism, language, characteristics, nature and influence to see a lasting effect on my artistic work. Each environment has an effect on us, as we also have an effect on our environment. Ideas, thoughts and observation are abstracted and reduced in forms, symbols and colours. Colours are experienced through the eye. Without light we wouldn’t see them. But does light not have another level – an energy that exists with or without light? Isn’t it like music experienced at different frequencies. The architecture of my work is very complex in the range of energy fields. Self-made paints from colour pigments are employed to build a body of layers. I am fascinated by the reflection of light on the picture surface from which always new colour nuances are brought out. This is when I hear the colours. Colour and Space – two aspects of art which I continue to explore with great interest. Is a room to be considered a form? What effect do colours have on a room and how do they alter with the changing light? And the human being who lives in the room/form: how he is reacting on it and how does the form and colour react on him? Which forms are harboured in the human body? – This is a question I asked myself in an ongoing process and I answered it through the East-West Project. When the human body is reduced down to its most basic elements, there are always geometric forms that immerge. I experimented with the interplay between Colour – Form and Light during the realization of a series of light objects. Always new colours were applied to constant picture compositions until the inherent forms seemed to awaken with a life of their own.
Yvonne Türler-Kürsteiner A Dialogue between East and West
Colour, form and light are the creative elements of concrete art and, in combination with space, they provide the foundation Garda Alexander’s work is based on. In contrast to concrete artists whose geometrical forms are never questioned but rather accepted as an expression of irrefutable mathematical laws, Garda Alexander lets herself be inspired by nature. Lines, triangles or squares are not the beginning but the effect – the conclusion of a sophisticated process of abstraction. Initially the forms are not obvious; instead they must be discovered first and then be given the opportunity to develop. They emerge either through a process of philosophical harmonising or by closely studying nature – a fact that becomes evident in the “East-West” range of work produced during her guest stay at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Since the artist had taken several semesters of medicine, her in-depth research into the influence two different cultures have on each other triggered associations on both sides of her brain. Much like a scientist she realised these associations in the form of pencil drawings. What appears to be technical and scientific at a first glance will, upon closer examination, reveal itself as a fluent process of form design. Lines are accentuated, while raised areas and shades compete with each other until elementary forms gradually become apparent. They provide the repertory of shapes and forms for the large-sized pieces of the series. The analogy to anatomy becomes less distinct and what emerges are powerful mixed-media works of art that are mostly reduced to three colours, frequently feature a geometrical structure and, above all, show a symbolic character. Red stands for vitality, white for unity and black for diversity. Together form and colour create a well-balanced unity that, despite strong colour contrasts, radiates tranquillity.
Balance and tranquillity are also found in Garda Alexander’s “Energy Fields”. They are coloured landscapes reminiscent of Mark Rothko’s American Field Painting in Colour and yet completely different. The creative process itself is paramount here as well. Inspired by sceneries fading at dusk, up to forty layers of paint are alternately applied and removed until a vivid surface structure is created on which the light is reflected diversely. Depending on the light and the vantage point, the paintings are constantly changing, thus letting the viewer discover continually new aspects. The artist, influenced by her drive for scientific research, predominantly used paints she made from mainly pure, natural pigments that add a special radiance to the pictures of that series. Their intense vibrations have an enchanting effect on the viewer, triggering emotions and affecting the atmosphere of the environment in which they are displayed.
A kind of synthesis of the pieces of both the “East-West” project and the “Energy Fields” series is demonstrated in Garda Alexander’s “Light Objects”. Painted elementary forms such as the square, the cross and the circle are playfully contrasted with modern technology in the form of neon light and Plexiglas. The “Light Objects” no longer offer rational convergence through the abstraction of a figuration but rather the manifestation of an internal process that distances itself from logical thinking. The fascinating result is a cross between a painting and a design object. Various elements, materials and techniques are brought together to create not only an exciting tension but mutual balance as well.
Brigitte Selden Insight
Concrete works that are the result of ideas reduced to a few symbols and colours: The art of Garda Alexander radiates in its unwavering dedication to liberating purity and clarity. Because nothing is more real than “…a line, a colour, a surface. It is the concretisation of the creative spirit.” It was these words that Theo van Doesburg used at the beginning of the twentieth century to describe the liberation of the artistic avant-garde of the time from conventional values. Similar to her role models such as Marcel Duchamps, Garda Alexander has gone her completely own artistic direction, free from the mainstream of art. Her work is distinguished by its broadness – a fascination to choose a material, a technique or apply the medium specially for a theme, a project or a space. Born in Bavaria in 1961, Garda Alexander enjoyed a broad artistic education in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as in South America. Today, Zurich is the center of her life. The artist has already been represented in numerous solo and group exhibitions in international museums and galleries including several in both the USA and Peru. Garda Alexander continues to search answers to the questions she is confronted with in her study of form, light and colour. The work of the artist is not only about the interplay between these three central themes but also a quest for the origin of form. For her, it is a game that plays out in her objects, paintings and sculptures. This quest is the central theme in her “East-West Project” in which human forms were the starting point for the creative process. The artist, driven by an enormous enthusiasm for research, is fascinated by “the wonder of the human body”. This was the reason that she first decided to study medicine which meant the learning of anatomy through the dissection of bodies. “I dissected with passion. This may sound a bit macabre but it was so. My curiousity to see the inner world of the human body was too great to have held me back. All the experiences and medical knowledge later found their way into my “East-West Project”, recounts Garda Alexander. In this project, the path that the artist took both in thought and realisation are clear for the observer. Detailed anatomy drawings are cryptically reinterpreted and then further reduced to geometrical shapes in a most original way. One can experience subtraction in a pure form – an exceptionally fascinating process. In a somewhat other manner, Garda Alexander also concerns herself with the theme of “human being.” With her portrait work, she models the uniqueness of the subject and gives it a form.
Just as important for her with regard to conceptual work is the question of the impact of form, light and colour on the room. She sees these three elements as being inseparable from the space. In dialogue with the room, Garda Alexander develops playful, disciplined and geometric installations. Garda Alexander’s natural curiousity, as her scientific sense never passes up the opportunity to learn more about the various materials and their possibilities. “It is like my work on themes and projects: If I’m excited about something I research it continuously, trying to find out as much as possible about it”, explains the artist about her approach.