Alexandra McLellan

 

Much of my work centers around nature and the environment, specifically examining how we navigate these spaces with concern and attention. While my paintings do not always explicitly serve as commentary on environmental issues, I still find that I am drawn to depicting subjects that act as messengers and purveyors of thought on these topics. Often, this results in the use of heavy symbolism, or the implication of symbolism. Animal subjects find their way into my work more often than not, either as an element with personal significance, as some tangible metaphor, or as a literal representation of the ideas I’m working with in a piece. I find it important for my work to contain imagery that is recognizable to a larger audience, but with certain limitations. The avian forms in my work hold weight as something commonplace and identifiable, yet unreachable. In this, I think the viewer searches for some sense of relatability. I strive to make my figures tangible without being overly familiar, creating complacency in the viewer. Once you’ve found a comfortable place in which you think you understand these works, you realize you don’t. I leave room for you to create your own narrative, even if I already have my own in mind. In my paintings, birds are these lifeforms we scientifically understand, but emotionally and physically never will. They have inner lives that we will never know. I see them as bridging this ambiguity gap—forms we recognize, but will never really know. I think they are the perfect representations of conscious and subconscious, connections between the environments of the physical world, and perhaps occupiers of liminal spaces. Where we may fade in and out of these dimensional thresholds uncontrollably and unknowingly, they seem to have the ability to feel and control what we as humans can only perceive. Whether this be our physical, earthbound limitations or a difference in psychology, perhaps we would navigate our own world better if we could see it from another’s perspective.

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