Alex McLeod creates surreal landscapes that blend the interior and exterior environment, ambulance distorting ones sense of perception. McLeod creates virtual canvases with off-the-shelf 3-D Modeling software—his tools of choice are primarily used by video game designers, dosage
architects and Hollywood, information pills
but McLeod brings them into a Fine Art context. He takes repeated forms, bright colors and a variety of textures to bring his digital imaginings to life. Some of the pieces create a sense of the hyperreal and succeed in convincing many viewers that they are tangible objects, e.g. photos of room installations. These landscapes have a physical presence and materiality that goes beyond the basic “3D” effect of tools that created them.

If McLeod could build installations of this sort he would be a very wealthy man, building displays for high end Japanese boutiques and dioramas for theme parks. However the worlds he creates exist only in the virtual world, highly aestheticized environmental renderings with an ability to trick the eye, reminding us of trompe l’oeil methods employed by classical painters. The images are devoid of humans, and often make the viewer simultaneously want to live in the space, while also being subtly repellent to the viewer. These worlds are inviting and frightening, dripping with color (verging on the psychedelic) and look like they would taste delicious. However, upon closer inspection the worlds look like a candy-coated post-apocalyptic wasteland strewn with garbage and toxic sludge. His worlds reveal both sides of the fantasy, the Willy Wonka veneer and the darkness. McLeod says himself that “ below lies a haunting stillness that comes forth in the aftermath of cataclysmic events.”

According to his bio, McLeod started out as a painting student and became interested in computer imaging, replacing the paintbrush with a mouse. It is rare treat to find a new media artist utilizing technology in a way that is both aesthetically and technologically interesting. In addition to lightjet prints, McLeod also animates his landscapes. This young Canadian artist has a very busy schedule for the next year or two, showing everywhere, which is great because his work is fabulous. Check out his schedule of shows and stop by the gallery to check them out in person.

For people in the Bay Area:
September 3rd-Oct 16, 2010
Anno Domini
366 South First Street
(btwn San Carlos & San Salvador)
San Jose, CA 95113