Alex Larsen at Capitol Street Gallery
Manipulator of objects, visual artist Alex Larsen is displaying his shifts in shape at Capitol Street Gallery this summer through his exhibition Daily Lunch Special. A hodgepodge of items molded, bent, and whittled into new design, Larsen implores objects both ordinary and hand crafted to construct his pieces. Seeing that this form of art is what is seen as fluid and audience catching in today’s contemporary art world, Larsen is riding the wave of what seems like splitting hairs when applying a label. Perhaps the need for originality in a subsection of an art form that isn’t always groundbreaking is captured by denying specific genres of work for your own pieces.
Various forms of media used, abused, construed, and re-construed to build new work that resembles something recognizable or purely imaginary from the artist’s mind. “Most of the work I make is about the materials I use, not just how they come together in the end,” says Larsen. “My material lists are very specific and thorough. While the work is definitely a mixture of different media, I would never use the term ‘mixed media’.”
Alex Larsen, “Mouche.”
As someone who has always been interested in construction, Larsen studied photography and completed a plethora of sculpture courses through his studies at Maryland Institute College of Art. “I have always been interested in making and building things whether it be sandcastles or steel structures,” states Larsen. “As a kid I made a lot of carvings and fishing lures and different small-scale things.”
This desire to be hands on with metal and beyond took a strong hold later in his college studies as he moved further away from the set visual composition in photographs to the meticulous movement of objects and steel. “Probably junior year in school something clicked and I stopped making work to complete assignments and making the work I wanted to make,” he says. “Conceptually I was thinking about human relationships and attempts to control nature, which I still am but it manifests itself in a totally different way.”
Alex Larsen, “Open Faced Sandwich.”
After his university studies, he worked for well-known sculptor Dave Hess in Baltimore for two years and learned steel fabrication. These skills from fabrication can be seen in his work for this current show as beams and shapes lay the foundation for convoluted shapes and off kilter forms on the small to large scale. Taking subtle nods from some of his influences that include Rene Magritte, Martin Puryear, Tony Matelli, Nick Van Woert, Robert Gober, Larsen is taking the most mundane of objects and offering a viewer a chance to get up close to see how they hold up on a esoteric plane.
“Daily Lunch Special” opens Friday, June 24 from 6:30 to 9 pm at Capitol Street Gallery (6701 Capitol Street). The exhibition is on view by appointment through July 23. For an appointment, call 713-304-3515.