9 – 25 March 2017
about the exhibition
Drawn to materials that are weathered and worn, Alex Asch reinterprets found objects in the construction of his unique sculptures presenting new ways to examine our environment. He presents two series of work in this exhibition, ‘Totems for an Atheist’ and ‘Docklands’. With the totems, Alex feels“a compulsion to build these, but must admit they are still mysterious to me. There is, of course, my childhood, the son of anthropologists surrounded by exotic artefacts, African masks and South American spears and arrows; my recent trip to New Zealand where I had the privilege to meet and see Maori artists carving intricate and powerful wooden objects; my love of Duchampian objects and the strange couplings of the Surrealist – lobster and phone.” By restricting his palette for the ‘totems’ to primarily black and red, when presented en masse, they provide a sense of cohesion and a strong impact. This does not however distract from the individual power of each piece, composed of carefully constructed elements. The ‘Docklands’ works are inspired by Alex’s childhood love of harbours and the docklands that surround them. A recent trip to New Zealand, particularly the docks around Dunedin,has also provided inspiration for the series: “The use of galvanised corrugated steel and timber and the endless repairs and extensions over the past 200 years have created enormous sculptural patchworks of textured compositions.” Eminent art critic and historian, Professor Sasha Grishin AM, comments that “Alex is an unusual sculptor whose art does not fit into an established mould, nor follows a defined postmodernist orientation. His work is quirky, yet tough; humorous, yet serious; brilliantly crafted, but also naïve and understated in its use of stylistic conventions… Alex Asch has become an original and distinctive voice in Australian Art.”
Alex Asch was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and was involved in university art programs in Los Angeles and New York before moving to Australia and studying art at the Australian National University in 1988. He has provided technical assistance to a number of arts organisations around Canberra, and has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia. In 2008, Alex was awarded the Rosalie Gascoigne Award by the Capital Arts Patrons Organisation (CAPO) and was the recipient of the Workplace Research Associates Award by CAPO in 2015. Alex’s work has recently been collected by the National Gallery of Australia and is also included in the collections of Artbank, ACT Legislative Assembly and Canberra Museum and Gallery as well as corporate collections in Australia, USA, UK and the Netherlands.