Lives and works in Chicago, IL
Alexander Valentine takes visual cues from imagery that the public encounters each day. In his practice, he continuously references and collects graphic elements from commercial advertisements, Internet culture, iPhone emojis, desktop publishing, and more. A skilled offset printer and digital manipulator, Valentine produces and deconstructs these images to a point of unrecognizability. He then reassembles, repeats, cuts, and layers the spliced shapes with a compositional control and consideration that befits both a trained designer and a gestural painter. During this process, different papers, hues, and image qualities are introduced and compared to further complicate and remove the original context of the source material.
The resulting collages are abstract, active, and effervescent — often to a point of pleasant (and planned) overstimulation. Forms and feelings emerge from the meandering layers and colors only to disappear from a different point of view, forcing the viewer to unwittingly look more than once. The title of the exhibition references this playful back and forth, with Valentine gamely aware of the ambivalent nature of his works. With his fragmented subject matter in mind, Valentine harnesses the loud energy of the street ad or the browser pop-up for his own purposes, leading his collages to capably vie for their own attention.
ALEXANDER VALENTINE lives and works in Chicago, IL. In 2011, he received his MFA in Printmedia from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Valentine’s works have been shown both internationally and in the United States, including Fernway Gallery, Chicago (2015); Walter Otero Gallery, San Juan (2015); 3433, Chicago (2014); and Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago (2012, 2011, 2009). His books, publications, and editioned works have been exhibited extensively, with highlights including the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, EXPO Chicago, London Art Book Fair, Tokyo Art Book Fair, and New York Art Book Fair. He is the co-founder and director of No Coast Editions and Books, a publisher of artist books, editions, and multiples. Valentine currently lectures in the Printmedia and Visual Communication Departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.