The eyes are windows to the soul, or so they say. However, the eyes in Alex Garant’s artworks are so much more. They will make you think about yourself, your youth, the choices you made, all of that while you feel like you’re walking in a hall of mirrors, and in all of the reflections is you. Paintings possess the certain autobiographical moments from the artist’s life, but they are also meant as a means to make the viewers think about themselves. Queen of Double Eyes is saturating her canvases in visual stimuli and is clearly overstimulating her audience, creating pieces which both excite and overwhelm all at once.
The way she creates makes her painting realistic, but surreal at the same time. Traditional techniques of making portraits are combined with graphic quality, making her artworks widely recognizable. The core of her work is the pattern, she will duplicate elements, use symmetry and image superposition, creating an almost perfect optical illusion. The figures are trying to escape themselves but are also given some of the artist’s soul. It’s a very distinctive version of combining two persons, using a model as a beginning point, but also enriching the artworks with Garant’s own feelings.
The idea behind Garant’s work is for artworks to become an extra-sensory experience and to challenge the viewers to adjust and adapt so they could comprehend the pieces. Beginning with a regular portrait in pencil, the same portrait is added, and then the artist plays with superposition until the balance is achieved. The sketches are then transferred to canvas and Garant can start painting. She works alla prima, so the both images are painted at the same time.
Also, in the time when self-portrait (selfies) is a part of people’s daily habits, the artist wants to push the limits of portraiture in two-dimensional media. Applying her techniques makes something banal transform into extraordinary.
Her second solo exhibition (third coming in July in Portugal), called Wakefulness, is being held at the Spoke Art gallery. It will be on display until February 27th, so if you’re nearby, be sure to check it out. The recent work is placed somewhere between hallucinations and psychology. The idea of traditional beauty is somewhat twisted, as the viewers find the artworks undoubtedly beautiful, but just can’t look at for too long. There is a continuation is portraying only females, as she is keeping her work autobiographical to an extent. Garant is describing the paintings as deeply personal, and they are completely relatable, both to Alex and the viewers.
Garant remembers her childhood when her mother drew faces so she could paint them with wax pastels. The artist recalls with those female faces with full lips and big eyes. Those memories, in combination with the idea of self-portraiture, marked her career. She studied Visual Arts at Notre-Dame–De-Foy College, just outside the Quebec City, where she graduated in 2001. Unfortunately, she had a heart attack in 2012, and that really made Garant open her eyes and realize that life is too short. So, she decided to do what she loves and what fulfills her, and that is painting. Now she leads a healthy life, goes to the gym and does what she loves – paints. Actually, the gym has become such a big part of her life, allowing her to reset both physically and mentally and helping her to channel the energy positively. Queen of Double Eyes is a nickname given to her by a friend, after seeing some of her works.
It was very unfortunate that Alex Garant had a heart attack, but she survived and came back stronger. Something wonderful came out of it, as she decided to completely turn to art, and question the standards of beauty. Her unique pieces make the viewers have a hard time focusing on a face of each figure portrayed. By simply looking at her paintings, a journey begins. The journey that will make you get to know yourself, but also the artist. Sure, it is difficult and overwhelming, but don’t get discouraged. Just open your eyes and look.
She is represented by Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco, USA.
Featured image courtesy of Spoke Art gallery and Shaun Roberts.
All images copyright © the artist.
|2016||Inaugural Show||BeinArt Gallery, Brunswick, VIC, Australia||Group|
|2016||POW WOW Hawaii Art Show||The Honolulu Museum Of Art||Group|
|2016||Wakefulness||Spoke Art Gallery, San Francisco||Solo|
|2015||The Royals||ARCH ENEMY ARTS, Philadelphia||Group|
|2015||Gauntlet Gallery at Booth H15||Scope, Miami Beach||Group|
|2015||Small Wonders 4||ARCH ENEMY ARTS, Philadelphia||Group|
|2015||United Nations||La bodega Gallery, San Diego||Group|
|2015||Return the Wild||Auguste Clown, Australia||Group|
|2015||Star Wars Show||Cylinder Sounds Studios, Toronto||Group|
|2015||Interiors Show with Copycat Violence Collective||Gristle Gallery, New York||Group|
|2015||BEACON||Gauntlet Gallery, San Francisco||Group|
|2015||The 20/20 Project||Modern Eden, San Francisco||Group|
|2015||Transfigure, with Sarah Joncas and Kit & Corey Popp||Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY||Group|
|2015||Emoji Art Show||Arch Enemy Arts, Philadelphia, PA||Group|
|2015||Woman X Women||Station 16 Gallery, Montreal QC||Group|
|2015||LVL UP, inaugural show||NUVANGO Art Gallery, Toronto||Group|
|2015||Libertine Art Show||Gristle Tattoo, New York, NY||Group|
|2015||Frida Art Show||Labodega Gallery, San Diego||Group|
|2015||Small Works Art Show||Auguste Clown, Australia||Group|
|2015||Ghost Stories||Penumbra Art Boutique, Portugal||Group|
|2015||Aries 27||416 Gallery, Toronto||Group|
|2015||TRIUMVIRATE||Gauntlet Gallery, San Francisco||Group|
|2015||Black Magic, Live Auction event||No Love Lost Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery, Bowmanville, Ontario||Group|
|2015||March Showcase||Arch Enemy Arts Gallery, Philadelphia||Group|
|2015||Myth Magic and Lore||Bash Contemporary, San Francisco||Group|
|2015||Venus Art Show||La Bodega Gallery, San Diego||Group|
|2015||Unbound, Art Show for the free spirited||Cinecycle, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2015||LOVE Art Show||416 Gallery, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2015||Ananas / Pineapple Art Show||416 Gallery, Toronto||Group|
|2015||Skateboard Show - One year Anniversary||La Bodega Gallery, San Diego, USA||Group|
|2014||New year's Eve Art Show||416 Gallery, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2014||Echoes of Perception Show||Red Raven Gallery, Seattle, USA||Group|
|2014||Enamored||Thumbprint Gallery, 3830 30th street, San Diego, California||Group|
|2014||Nightmare on Queen Street||416 Gallery, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2014||Copycat Violence Collective Art Show||Thumbprint Gallery, San Diego, California||Group|
|2014||The Figurative Exhibition||Artist Resource Center of Toronto, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2014||Grand Opening Show||No Love Lost Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery , Bowmanville, ON||Group|
|2014||Chimera||Back to the Fuchsia Gallery, London, ON||Group|
|2014||Earth Mothers||Atomic Toybot Gallery, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2013||The Devil is in the details||Atomic ToyBot Gallery, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2013||The Beaver Show||Atomic Toybot Gallery, Toronto, On||Group|
|2013||Monster vs Robots||Atomic Toybot Gallery, Toronto, ON||Group|
|2013||Zombie||Last Rites Gallery, New York, USA||Group|
|2013||Passe-Tetes||Atomic Toybot Gallery, Toronto, ON||Solo|
|2001||Art Collective||St-Augustin Art Gallery, QC||Group|
|2001||Snow Sculpture Performance & Exhibit , Quebec winter festival||Quebec City, QC||Group|
|1999||Snow Sculpture Performance & Exhibit , Quebec winter festival||Charlesbourg, QC||Group|
|1994||Snow Sculpture Performance & Exhibit , Quebec winter festival||Charlesbourg, QC||Group|