Friday, 14 June 2013

Alexa Meade: Milk

I came across this work by Alexa Meade quite by accident and it had really aroused my curiosity.  The end result is a photograph, but it is the performance, if it can be called that, which matters.  She describes herself on her facebook page as an artist who paints directly on her subjects so that the perception is that of a 3D subject which has been compressed into a 2D space.  The result is extremely effective if somewhat disturbing in some images.

Returning to "Milk", the actual title of the work is: "MILK: what will you make of me?" and is a collaboration between Alexa Meade and Sheila Vand.  The first of the references below, links to a site which fully describes this project, complete with behind the scenes photographs and video.  Curiously this performance, because that what it is in my mind, was repeated at the Galerie Ivo Kamm in Zurich.
Preparation of the canvas
To me, Alexa Meade has taken the concept of flattening a 3D subject into 2D one stage further, with the impact of the milk filled bath, ever changing.  It is this which also, when photographed, demonstrates snapshots in time, which can never be repeated in their detail.  Whilst the concept is repeatable, the detail is not, as the paint works its way into the milk and the slight movements by the performer create unique patterns in time.  Recording these using a stills camera captures those moments, though I hesitate to go so far as those being decisive moments in the Cartier Bresson mould. The performance has a very short lifespan as the moment the subject is submerged in the milk, the paint and the milk morphs and continues to change

The way that the subject blends in with the canvas is the key to the dimensional flattening which is well illustrated in the video at Alexa Sheila Video.
There is a series of black and white images which, to me, become almost like line drawings.  The lighting used contributes to the flattening effect as there very little shadow other than that which has been painted in by the artist.

The main web site at is worth looking at as this gives an insight into other works done by Alexa Meade, all of which are incredibly striking.


Milk: Alexa Meade and Sheila Vand
Alexa Meade Facebook
Huffington Post
Alexa Meade web site

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