The space that ephemeral art occupies in the contemporary art landscape is, unlike its transient nature, a permanent fixture. In a seven-part series, we bring together artistsworking in this space and the unique relationship they share with their artwork and the world beyond.
Alexa Meade, United States
When the world of art beckons a student of political science,it is quite natural to expect the unexpected to happen.In Alexa Meade’s case, however, the unexpected hadsuch deep underpinnings that it pushed the boundaries ofart into a heady journey of self-discovery, for the artist andthe medium. For Meade, through her artistic experiments,did away with the canvas, painting portraits directly on thehuman body, converting 'real life people into seemingly2D works of art'. ‘It started with shadows,’ she says in herTED Talk, Your Body is my Canvas (that has, incidentally,been viewed over 2 million times). ‘I was fascinated by theabsence of light. I wanted to find a way to take immaterialityand pin it down for a change.’ From painting shadows tostumbling upon the technique of painting human bodies,Meade’s portraits are stark, raw and strangely pulsating withlife. She has exhibited in several galleries across the world,has found her way into art history textbooks, and has lecturedextensively on her work.
Alexa 1 BLUE PRINT, 24 x 18 Edition of 7.
From painting still life to portraits inside her studio to takingher art out into the streets to the ‘milk project’, Meade’sconstant mode of experimenting with this style has created arange of stunning results. By ‘mimicking what is directly belowit’, her art takes on a fascinating texture, giving rise to amultiple interpretations, and completely redefining space bytaking art out of its framed canvas on to the world at large.
Alexa 2 BLUE PRINT, Installation - 8' x 8' x 4'.
It’s difficult to precisely define Meade’s creative thoughtprocess in the language of ephemeral art, as even thoughits nature is transient, Meade’s vision seems to go beyondjust the need to capture something that is limited to spaceand time. It seems to encompass the permanence of anidea into the impermanence of the human body and theart form itself.
Alexa 3 Aligned with Alexa - 16 x 16 Edition of 7.
Praveena Shivram is an independent writer based in Chennai.
Read More: Fleeting Flights: Part 5