A self-taught Canadian artist based in London, Alias Trate is known for capturing human sensibilities in subconsciously sourced forms. His works chronicle the human condition through his distinct aesthetic characterized by arresting color palettes, intricate geometric brush patterns, and bold gender-fluid figures.
The artist's latest body of work is currently on view in an innovative online show curated by Belgian-born curator and academic Tim Goossens, working as an Associate Director of Academics at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Titled The Dionysian Kid, the exhibition will present new work created during the 2020 COVID lockdown. Not a typical online viewing room, the show will introduce a new drone-led interactive experience.
Working under an alias that refers to the human traits he paints, Alias Trate describes his works as "amalgams of different emotions and people, real and imagined." Without using preparatory drawings, his process is exploratory, working intuitively and directly on the canvas. As the artist himself explains, through painting, he tries to "understand the underlying forces that drive my thoughts, actions and vices."
Painting is a way to render intelligible the emotional chaos of my existence.
With this latest body of work, Alias Trate invites the viewers into his fantastical world, where past and present, the mythical and real, coexist. The innovative drone-led experience takes the viewer on an aerial tour of the artist's East London neighborhood before landing him into his studio for an intimate presentation. Each of the works can be seen in more detail through high-definition pop-ups.
For this body of work, comprised of over a dozen new works, Alias Trate drew inspiration from both subconscious sources and classical mythology. The ancient Greek god of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theater, and religious ecstasy, Dionysus embodies the chaotic, irrational pursuit of passion. Often contrasted to his brother Apollo, symbolizing pure form and rationality, he was often described as "the liberator," because his wine, music, and ecstatic dance freed his followers from self-consciousness and the restraints of society.
A continuation of the artist's exploration of the ontological themes of being and becoming, these works feature elongated bodies and striated faces that recall both modernism of the early 20th century and contemporary figurative painting.
The canvases are characterized by a richly hued and treated surface, resulting from the use of pure pigments enhanced with large quantities of walnut, sunflower and linseed oils, applied through varied techniques such as brush and palette knife, as well as the artist’s fingers.
Curated by Tim Goossens, The Dionysian Kid is on view online until May 28th, 2021.
Goossens has a diverse curatorial practice and is a contributing editor for Oxford University Press. He has worked with a wide array of renowned artists, including Kenneth Anger, Bjork, Joan Jonas, Sam Moyer, Stephen Posen, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Pieter Vermeersch, and the estate of David Wojnarowicz.
Featured images: Dionysian Kid by Alias Trate, installation views. Courtesy the artist.