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Alex O'Neal
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Cobble Hill



ARTIST STATEMENT: My drawings and paintings idiosyncratically depict circumstances that associate Americans, i. e. dysfunction, style as empowerment, nature worship, anarchy, Hollywood. The community in my work finds a vehicle in fictional Delta City, where isolation gives greater opportunity for local superstars and homegrown fashion. It is a deprived, rural landscape where signs state DIRT FOR SALE. Delta City makes references to self-taught sensibilities and is a hideaway for poorly-disguised, rebellious characters. Flamboyant, mean hippies possess talismans in the form of souvenir jewelry, reliquary rings, black lightning, and candy-striped objects, including donuts, phones and clothing. Supernatural characters speak "star language". An aspect of this community, obscured by its decoration, is its metaphor for the family unit with its resident anarchists and history of secrecy, symbolized by the often disguised participants. It has taken me awhile to naturally arrive at "portraits" of the characters of my work. Each subject's personal style has a piled-on, shrine mentality or aesthetic. Their natural adornments, such as pine cones and snails, keep old mythology and superstitions alive. The nostalgic telephones in my works suggest the communicative ability of art as well as a potential for mischief. Newly isolated forms in recent work are geometric shapes and patterns that refer to migraine auras I have experienced for twenty five years. These vibrating shapes, that relate to the striped objects and lightning in my past work, linger near my characters’ faces like Art Deco jewelry.
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