We have been big fans of Kari-Lise Alexander's art for a long time and are very excited to debut her latest series A Lovelorn Theft this month at the gallery. We sat down to ask the artist a few questions about her inspirations for the show and delve into her artistic process:
ME: What was your inspiration for 'A Lovelorn Theft' and how did you select your subject matter?
KA: I’ve always been inspired by Nordic fairy tales, folklore and legends. This particular focus on shape-shifting women in these legends really summed up what I had already been painting and I just expanded on it. Women that are secretive, vulnerable, mysterious and possibly not quite human. I think that it’s a very fascinating subject to explore and it was a natural evolution for me with my painting.
ME: How would you describe the aesthetic of your new artwork? How are these works different in terms of style and application than previous works?
KA: In previous series and paintings I’ve made the work about all the different details happening in the pieces. You could take a small section of those paintings and they could tell their own story. I’ve stripped away all of that from this series. The pieces are about the intimacy between the viewer and the subject. We are confronted with these girls and we feel their vulnerably. This series has a more serious tone to the subjects then what I’ve painted in the past. The colors and mood set in each piece reflects that. It’s been a fun challenge for me to explore this specific area in Nordic folklore with my painting.
ME: Do you have a favorite piece in the show, or one that was particularly challenging to work on, and why?
KA: I usually don’t have favorite pieces. However, I have to say that The Reveal (Pictured Above) is a painting that I’m really proud of. You can feel the moment that’s being presented in the piece and it’s a very powerful and moving one.
ME: What artists inspire you (living or dead)?
KA: I’m always drawn to artists that surprise you and that are always evolving their work. I love Lola Gil’s work. She's was one of the first artists in pop surrealism that I saw before I started painting and really stuck with me. I’ve always loved the way she does composition. She also has an amazing imagination for her work and never ceases to amaze me. She’s an fantastic world builder and I think that’s what makes her work special. I’m also a big fan of Seamus Conley. He is an incredible world builder as well. I love that in his work you often can’t see the subjects face. It makes you feel that your that person and it’s easy for you the put yourself in his paintings. JE Millais and other Pre-Raphaelites are huge inspirations as well. Their use of color and the way they told folkloric stories through their painting is incredible and something that makes me push myself everyday.
ME: What’s your daily life like? What are some things you do when you’re not painting / making art?
KA: I usually get up get my coffee and then go out to take care of my 2 rabbits Horace and Willa. I might dabble in my garden for while too. After that I’m usually painting for 8 to 12 hours a day depending on what projects I have going on. When I’m not painting I love spending time out in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with my husband Michael and our two dogs Tyrant and Sugar. We do lots of hiking and exploring. I’m always looking for new inspiration and adventures.