Alexia Vogel: Tangled Dreams

Alexia Vogel: Tangled Dreams

Barnard is pleased to present Alexia Vogel's 4th solo exhibition Tangled Dreams.

I'm crossing the threshold
From the ordinary world
To the reveal of my heart

By the end of 2019 Vogel was unsure of the direction her next show would take. The first tests that she made were dark, densely layered and complex. It felt like there must be something on the other side, but she couldn’t see a way toward it. The only path forward seemed to be deeper darkness, greater complexity and more depth. But instead of bashing forward, Vogel discovered that the path through could be found in spontaneity and light. By exposing the foundations beneath, Vogel has found illumination.

There is an almost manic energy to these new works. The energy of something newly released which has been constrained for a long time. There is also, in spite or because of their light touch, a new nuance. Although the jungle is still there, it is the jungle as seen in a reflection or refracted through some other medium. There is also a paradoxical strength or boldness in the lighter touch. Something like the greater impression a fevered dream can have than mundane reality.

All my Birds of Paradise is the middle of the jungle – the thickest, deepest part. It is also the first work produced for this show, a somewhat dark and ominous point of departure. Standing in front of this painting, it is hard to identify a pathway through it. The large-format wall of tangled imagery engulfs you - a mixture of sensual chaos and mania. You can feel the humidity. There is an endless depth, but because it is inaccessible, there is also no space in it at all.

As inescapable as the work seems, the pathways into the rest of the show are within it. Elements of All my Birds of Paradise appear in hazy echoes throughout the body of work as in Yellow Flutter and Collide. They are stripped down and somewhat frenzied impressions – half remembered notes from a field journal. A dream turned lucid. Perhaps seen with greater clarity through reflection.

There’s an alliteration of the idea of breaking through in Vogel’s use of unrestricted edges seen in Glow/Move Through and Glow/Hold On. They overflow the recognisable format of a canvas and spread out into the space around them. In addition, there is a new freedom in the variety of mediums Vogel has used: a naivety in the flat surfaces of the oil pastel drawings; a playfulness of line; a happy accident through the loss of formality and form seen in her monotypes.

The show (as much as these things are ever categorizable) has three parts. Starting with the heavy impenetrable darkness of All my Birds of Paradise and Whirl, it begins thrashing through the morass with energy and dynamism in Trance/Kaleidoscope, Delirium and Caught up in the Dance and opens up into the dreamlike clearing of Hold, hold and Touch, touch. The energy of the inbetween works (Tale, Glow/Hold On and Lure) is both the frantic energy of trying to force a way through an enclosure, and the enlivening realisation that there is a way through – that the more path Vogel cleared the more appeared

Text by Rosie Mudge