With FREE-FOR-ALL, KÖNIG GALERIE presents Alex Gardner's first solo exhibition in the CHAPEL in St. Agnes. Five figurative paintings are shown that draw attention to things that happen in the dark.
What comes out when a door opens unexpectedly? What happens when people do what they want in an uncontrolled situation because there are no limits that could stop them? The Los Angeles-based painter Alex Gardner directs the spotlight on people who feel unobserved. They wrestle with one another and with themselves, they are wedged together and bear the burden of the other. One leans back and relaxes, the other seeks physical closeness.
The titles of his works dictate the reading and let the highly emotional and familiar moments overturn immediately. One leans back because the other is doing the unpleasant work. He is the shift leader of a troll factory, according to the title, where people flood the Internet with political commentary for a fee. The other seeks physical closeness and reaches out because it is possible. “Cheap Ain't Cheap,” Gardner reminds us, admonishing and warning. And shows that the burden literally always rests on someone else's back. Be it human or animal. There is no privileged person without a disadvantaged person. "Don't Hate Yourself", he demands, where two people seem to be in each other's arms and fight each other at the same time. “Predict Behavior Eliminate Threat,” he advises. Think and act with foresight, loosening your grip before it becomes too tight. In the picture, this moment has long since passed, and both are gripping hard.
“Every society took something from another society,” says Gardner. “No one has an original idea.” In FREE-FOR-ALL, Gardner searches for the cause of social problems and finds them in moments of weakness, in which violence is countered and attacked.
Known for his figurative painting and drawing, Alex Gardner (b. 1987, Long Beach, CA) uses layers of watered-down acrylic to make evocative scenes of ink-black figures with porcelain-like surfaces. Gardner’s approach smooths over cultural signifiers, creating anonymous characters in which his audience can see themselves reflected. His faceless silhouettes represent the human experience, and his technique produces thoughtful tonal shifts, examining light, shadow and texture.
Alex holds a BFA from California State University in Long Beach, which he completed in 2011. He currently lives and works in Long Beach, CA. He has exhibited internationally in Copenhagen, Mexico City, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, with solo shows in Hong Kong, London and at the Long Beach Museum of Art (Oct 2021). He has work in many global collections including the Jumex Museum, ICA Miami and X Museum collections.