In a world where we are constantly inundated with vast amounts of information, sometimes the most impactful messages are conveyed on a small scale. Enter Alexandra Noel’s paintings, which compared to most of the current painting landscape, are minuscule in size.
As evident in Noel’s practice, size does not matter. The Los Angeles-based artist succeeds in producing powerful portrayals on canvases often measuring less than a foot. Noel executes her works with tight, technically precise skill. Though Noel has shown her abilities in extremely life-like portrayals, she doesn’t always remain committed to that painting style.
With her latest body of work currently on view at Bodega, Noel pairs hard edge lines, with more abstract, blurred aspects. Though past presentations of Noel’s work have also contained a hint of dread, There’s always something feels more directly eerie. Scenes that present both life and death seem to blur the lines between the two.
Whether or not the works on view share a visual vocabulary is left up to interpretation, an aspect that is further emphasized by a few abstract sculpture works hanging alongside the paintings.
Zooming in both physically and metaphorically, Noel produces intimate moments that require you to pause in order to take in what you are seeing. Most works feel at the same time full of information yet also providing nothing at all about the depiction, an air of mystery filling the room.
Further adding to the mystery is the press release, divulging no information about the show, rather constructing an anecdote that hints to a sick hospital patient:
Aside from the machines an artist is connected to, he is in an empty fluorescent room. The gallerist is his lone human visitor. She leans over his vegetative face. Her eyes wander around the room as he groans and gurgles musty bubbles into her ear. She interprets this as something. She then stands in another empty fluorescent room and represents this something. She inhales as if to begin recitation but only holds her breath. “Thhhhp.” She returns to the artist in his bed and listens again.
Brimming with emotion and drama, Noel’s work proves that impact can be made on a small scale, with alternating abstract and direct representations.
There’s always something is Noel’s second solo exhibition with Bodega. It will be on view through December 15th.