Alexandra Noel

born 1989, Columbus, OH
lives in Los Angeles

Alexandra Noel’s twelve new paintings are intimate in scale. Mostly smaller than a postcard, they demand close examination. Yet within these limited dimensions, they exhibit a range of subjects and modes: from straightforward depictions of the artist’s own difficult birth, based on graphic photographs, to more dreamlike, abstract images that suggest tornadoes and other turbulent weather formations.

The artist’s approach is both freely associative yet attuned to context. In this case, she responded to the invitation of FRONT 2022 by reflecting critically on the way in which art exhibitions often foreground the birth dates and birthplaces of artists, lending these facts added significance. Although she was born in Ohio, Noel’s family moved away after only six months, leaving her with little explicit connection to the place. As she says, “In a way, showing my work in Ohio for this triennial feels like a funny homecoming. I don’t have any memories of Ohio but maybe there is a residual bodily memory I have and may not be able to access.” Painting, as an embodied response to lived situations, can function to excavate and process such past experiences.

Cleveland Institute of Art

Noel’s paintings are accompanied by a display case of artwork by four CIA students who have responded to her scale and approach in their own work.

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