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alexander herzog

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Birth year

Lives in

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NorthwesternUniversity, 2004, mfa

alexander herzog painting, abstract


Challenging distinctions between painting and sculpture with an investigation of unconventional materials, I have concentrated my practice on a kind of mark that exhibits the visual conflict of trauma in a state of stasis.

 In a series of paintings I called dent paintings, I created marks that were literal indentations on the picture plane, a kind of frontal impact onto the painted surface, like a mark made by an automobile crash.  One of my inspirations was the 1973 book Crash by English author J.G. Ballard, “an endless almanac of terrifying…and insane collisions, [with the author’s stated intention}. Yet I wanted this traumatic mark to be sensual, perfected, mechanical, a controlled gesture.1

 I incorporated additional layer to the dent painting series:  the mechanical/indexical quality of photography, while still trying to maintain an “all over and at once” depiction of the painted space without hierarchy of figure and ground.  I wanted ambiguity regarding narrative in the series of images created by these dented marks.

After the completion of the dent paintings, I moved on to works cast from an industrial resin with the appearance of crumpled and discarded material.  I wanted to create a physiological state of emptiness such as would be felt after experiencing something horrific -- empty, discarded, untouched, found, and finally fetishized as an object of beauty.

 In the last. year and a half, I have worked through a new series of abstract paintings in which the marks made on the painted surface were created by a direct physical contact with my hands onto the picture plane.  These marks are fluid, frozen, tangled, lyrical, animated by the frenetic energy of gesture, like watching a conductor’s hands moving in the air in front of an orchestra, or a person in a maniac obsessive state.   I like the density of the marks, the illusion of space, very shallow and close to the picture plane.  I have moved entirely away from color and have focused more on a high contrast between the gesture and ground . 

My most recent work moves away from the physicality of the mark in an exploration of yet another non-traditional material, a film that creates surface, eliminating the figure-ground hierarchy while setting up interesting anonymous reflective possibilities for the viewer.


[1]  Ballard, J.G., Crash, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 1, 1973.


Recent Exhibits

alexander herzog participated in these exhibits:

Dec, 2014 Golden Rut
Roots & Culture
Oct, 2014 “Rocket Run, Abstraction from Chicago”
Elder Gallery
Lloyd Dobler Gallery
Aug, 2012 21st Evanston and Vicinity Biennial
Evanston Art Center

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