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Alex McLeod: PHANTASMAGORIA

Experience a digital landscape full of whimsical characters that shift between 2D and 3D space.

The artistic world of Alex McLeod is filled with stunningly imaginative digital landscapes, alive with mind-bending objects and characters. For Surrey Art Gallery’s offsite venue UrbanScreen, McLeod’s site-specific digital animation PHANTASMAGORIA uses the architecture of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre as a playground for experimentation. Dazzling shapes and patterns float, bounce, spin, and spill across the windows of the building in a display of optical splendour, constantly moving between two and three-dimensional space. In a game of suggestion, PHANTASMAGORIA dissolves the boundary between reality and fantasy, reminding us of the physical rules that govern our world before breaking them in a brilliant display of colour.

A master of digital animation, McLeod’s subjects include impossible geometric constructions, vivid textures, and discontented (yet charming) creatures, drawn out of a vibrant virtual environment. In his work, these elements are composed in an ever-evolving series of animated tableaus that playfully experiment with physics, light, and form. All the while, McLeod invites viewers to observe the struggles of the beings who inhabit these fantastic realms, reflecting upon our own projected desires in the process.

This exhibition is presented as part of the 2018 Capture Photography Festival.

PHANTASMAGORIA is accompanied by an essay by Sky Goodden, as part of our Surrey Art Gallery Presents series. Goodden is the founder and contributing editor of Momus, a global journal of art criticism, and has contributed to art publications around the world.

About the Artist

Alex McLeod is a new media visual artist from Toronto. McLeod’s images recall the wide-open vistas of romantic landscape painting, and strange otherworldly dystopias. He uses film as a point of comparison, such as the representation of space, captured in films such as Kagemusha and Hidden Fortress, then contrasted with the hypothesized future depicted in films like Blade Runner. In light of concerns surrounding rising populations, urban over-development, and climate change, McLeod’s simulations could be considered a cautionary tale about ecological responsibility. He is represented by Division Gallery in Toronto and Montreal.

Curator: Rhys Edwards
Origin of Exhibition: Surrey Art Gallery

Image credit: Alex McLeod, PHANTASMAGORIA, 2018. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus.