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Focus on the Unfocused: Alex Garant | fluoro

Canadian pop surrealist artist and Queen of Double Eyes Alex Garant, creates pieces that are about focusing on the unfocused. Employing the use of pattern duplication, symmetry and image superstition, particularly of eyes, her pieces can almost discombobulate the viewers, as it is difficult to focus on the true face of each subject.

Garant says she has always been fascinated by symmetry and patterns, or “anything that makes the eyes travel over an image repeatedly.” The more she played with duplication of elements the more she found the vibrating effect that was created by overlaying images so positively stimulating.

Portraits are her modus operandi, ultimately vivid and assertively striking. She captures a certain stillness from her subjects – they are looking towards us, but it is the eyes (and some other facial features) and the way Garant multiplies and overlaps them that seem to be communicating various messages. “Eyes are the window to the soul. This is how we communicate,” says Garant. “I like to think that the viewers shall try to unearth the main figure by focusing on making those multiples into one, engaging the observers into an image investigation process and hopefully enlist their senses differently while doing so.”

Who are these figures that we are visually investigating? Mainly, Garant explains, they are specific models that have become her muses, and now represent a part of her. “Creating is a very personal experience,” she adds,  “and I believe each piece can be seen as self portraiture. Some of the colors, patterns and expressions I choose to use truly express a specific emotional phase of my life regardless of who is literally portrayed.”

The life of Garant has always revolved around art, having been presented with numerous awards throughout her career, as well as frequent exhibitions around the world, from the US and Portugal to Australia and Canada. In 2012 upon suffering a heart attack, her perspective shifted, and began focusing wholly on her art, which Garant says has evolved a lot over the years. “Some elements naturally come back, but as I change as an individual, my art changes with me,” she says. Some instinctive creative decisions will always lead the overall process, however, colours and texture will evolve with my moods,” she adds. “I [have] always been painting, I attended my first oil painting class when I was 7 years old. My first oil painting on canvas is hanging in my studio, it was created when I was 8 years old.”

She describes her protagonists as “trying to escape themselves” and “almost possessed by a distinct version of their own individuality and ‘exorcism of the soul”. In other words, Garant’s paintings perform a service for the multiple perspectives, both at an individual level and group level, that we all perceive life everyday.

Garant’s list of upcoming exhibitions and their locations continues to grow, and those who get up close and personal with Garant’s work can experience the ludic and alluring multiplicity of her portraits. Detailed listings of Garant’s shows can be found on her website, and Instagram.

This post first appeared on fluoro. © HM Group (Aus) Pty Ltd 2016

featured image: hanna ball / FlickrCC

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