Le Baptême de la Solitude: Alexander Jowett at Alison Milne Gallery

Alexander Jowett’s collection of horizons impart a laborious yet meditative process in the expression of sublime views and a global narrative. In the act of perceiving a series of carefully articulated lines, Le Baptême de la Solitude induces introspection about time and place. His title, specifically extracted from an essay by expatriate author Paul Bowles, alludes to the uncontrolled experience of mesmerization provoked by a sublime place, where memory disappears specifically denoting the experience of the Sahara desert.

Installation view of Alexander Jowett, Le Baptême de la Solitude, at Alison Milne Gallery. Image courtesy of The Antelucan Hourglass

In Le Baptême de la Solitude, Jowett introduces raw linen and indigo cloth from Mali and Japan, evoking notions of trade and travel as well as increasing texture and depth. The inevitable inconsistencies in cloth, enable a more accurate abstraction of the details in the desert. In his previous series “Horizon Lines,” he expressed seascapes using ink and paper, articulating repeating modular lines that increased in proximity towards the center. In his recent work he instead paints and stitches these repeated lines. The onerous process and simple outcome reflects the deception of nature, a seemingly pure element, but in reality composed of intricate complex systems. There is a direct connection between the artist’s processes and the viewers act of processing.

Alexander Jowett, Saharan Song, acrylic, ink, stitching and indigo cloth on raw linen, 72″ x 60″. Image courtesy of Alison Milne Gallery

Jowett evokes isolated atmospheric conditions and spatial vastness using horizontal, parallel lines. He expresses qualities of reflection, the division between land and sky, sea and sky, by accentuating the natural geometries. Lines exist as both physical scenarios, a street or a shoreline and abstract methods of measurement, markers of time, of contrast, of division. Lines become expressions of continuity and termination, engaging concentration and creating depth. Ordinarily the act of repetition evokes movement, however, the subtle repeated lines impart stillness and silence with the recognition of inevitable change. The mesmerized viewer interpolates upon dreamlike infinities and reallife temporal atmospheres.

Alexander Jowett, Mediterranean Midnight, acrylic, oil and stitching on raw denim, 48″ x 48″. Image courtesy of Alison Milne Gallery

Nika Teper

*Exhibition information: July 20 – September 10, 2016, Alison Milne Gallery, 134 Osler Street, Suite 3, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 6 pm.

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