American Bog - Mark Alexander
In 1982, a startling discovery was made off Florida's central east coast: a tractor operator unearthed ancient human skulls. Dated to be around 7,000 years old, these remains found in the Windover Archaeological Site surpassed the age of both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Their preservation was astounding, turning into enigmatic relics with a captivating sheen.
"American Bog" draws inspiration from such serendipitous findings. Through nine artworks, Alexander, a British-born artist, paints with a touch reminiscent of an archaeologist's tools, reviving iconic American symbols, from the national flag to figures like Lincoln and JFK. He presents these symbols as though seen from a remote future, reinvigorating them by infusing ancient mystique. These cultural icons, as portrayed, seem foreign yet fascinating, prompting a reevaluation of established artistic beauty norms.
This transformational bog is nestled between two major American landmarks: Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center. This geographical context speaks volumes. The bog, with its slow, natural processes, contrasts the transient nature of pop culture and the fleeting pride of human achievements like space exploration. These dichotomies are mirrored in Alexander's artworks, where the aged and timeless clash with the immediate and fleeting.
"American Bog" continues Alexander's journey from his 2012 "Ground and Unground" exhibition in London. This series taps into the allure of ancient bogs, often linked with the peatlands of Scandinavia and Ireland. Yet, Alexander's theme, exploring how time reshapes not only physical objects but our perception of them, has been a consistent thread in his oeuvre since the 1990s.
American Bog, solo exhibition, Broadway 1602, New York, USA