Erin: What are you curious about?
Alexa: I’m curious about finding the razor’s edge, about pushing yourself right up to something intense and riding it, and about turning that thrill and vulnerability into a source of strength. There’s a vibrancy there, something that is both completely new and also satisfying and familiar. And the reaching for it is the thing I am the most curious about, because as soon as I get it, I am drawn to the next edge, and so on and so forth.
Erin: Describe your art and describe your process.
Alexa: After years of painting abstract landscapes, where the place I was painting served as a gateway for my expression, I have recently abandoned any representation to work more intimately with issues that motivate me. These days I am using construction materials, cement, chalk and metal, formalistically pairing impulse and order, organic and manmade elements.
Erin: Your mediums of choice range from oil paint to mixed media on wood, to rusting steel and poured concrete, yet your work largely shares similar interpretations of vast spaces. Do you have a common thread of inspiration in all of your work?
Alexa: My surroundings. I walk around unconsciously scanning for formalistic eloquence on every surface; in every corner and I love finding it in often overlooked places. I feel like then is when it gets really exciting, like uncovering secret and scandalous moments. And that’s what I want in my work.
Erin: How do you choose your medium for each new body of work?
Alexa: It all just happens. Not to dodge the question, but like I said, I see something somewhere that excites me, and I bring it back into my studio. When I first moved to Red Hook, the palette of the rusted steel along the industrial waterfront kept showing up into my oil paintings until ultimately I just decided to use steel instead. The same thing for the concrete, it’s just all around me all the time in the city and I find it forcing itself on me, not the other way around.
Erin: Landscape vs. Abstract?
Alexa: Agghhh. Tough one. Can I have both? I think I do have both…?! But seriously my work is about both my internal and external landscape, always and forever, but it’s not at all representational right now. So it’s abstract… But it’s inherently about my urban landscape. So both.
Erin: You are currently pouring concrete into silk screen frames laced with contractor’s chalk. Tell us a bit about this newest series Concrete (Urban).
Alexa: My new work is an exploration of my vulnerability, how it presents itself in the midst of an evolving resoluteness. I am using construction materials, pairing impulse and order, organic and manmade elements. Where society places value on construction as a male trait, I make cast concrete paintings with organic shapes in pink paint or orange chalk that evoke something chaotic and sensual, qualities that are generally considered feminine. Durability and tenderness co-exist on the concrete slab and that confluence is something I argue is inherent in us all. By blending the gender spectrum I am hoping to illuminate a strength that evolves from the fusing of these virtues.
Erin: How has being a born and bred New Yorker shaped and defined your approach to your artwork?
Alexa: The work is very urban, and there’s a tough/sensitive hybrid quality a lot of New Yorker’s share that is exemplified in my work. And the experience of growing up in the city with lots of other kids who had parents who made their living as professional artists was undeniably influential and inspirational.
Erin: Having your studio located in TI Studios, a creative hub in Red Hook Brooklyn, do you find creative influence and collaborations with others to be crucial?
Alexa: Absolutely, I’ve worked in studios off on my own, and it is just so different from being surrounded by other artists you are inspired by and build connections with. Not only do I love this studio building, but also I find Red Hook to be the coolest place ever for incubating creativity. Everyone here is working hard and sincerely on their passion. It’s a crazy hub of authentic innovation.
Erin: What is the most important thing you learned and from whom?
Alexa: Motherhood. Being a parent of two daughters has taught me the most important lesson of maintaining integrity, patience and a sense of humor (or at least trying to) no matter what you do.
Erin: If you had one superpower what would it be?
Alexa: Invincibility, but I’d just settle for getting a good night’s sleep.
Erin: If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive who would it be with and what would it look like?
Alexa: I’d love to work with Richard Serra; I love the massiveness of his work. But I’d also love to just work and hang with Louise Bourgeois because I find the fearlessness in her work to be magical.
Erin: What’s next?
Alexa: Coming off the wall. I have two shows coming up where I will be using installation for the first time. I’m excited about letting the materials blossom into the 3D and hope that that expansion will inform the viewer about the material investigations of my “concrete paintings”. And bigger. And more badass. Always.