Albatross

Opening Night

Opening Night

Opening night

Opening Night

Opening Night

"From Adam and Eve to Sisyphus, tales of human struggle have long immortalized the mythology of man’s battle with his own humanity. Regardless of time or place, man has been relentlessly haunted by his awareness of his own mortality, whether manifested in sadness, anger, or frustration. The poet Goethe once commented about humanity’s fate, “Why did you grant us such intuition, / Such power to know each other’s heart, / To see, among life’s scattered throng, / The true relationship where we are?”  Alexander Voight addresses this awareness of human despair through a stunning amalgamation of photography, painting, drawing, and stencil work. His show, titled Albatross, draws inspiration from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and deals with the animal’s metaphorical significance as an unrelenting psychological encumbrance. In this case, the figurative chokehold stems from the demons that originate from within the human psyche. Voight’s twelve prints work through a compendium of colorful mediums to create a totalizing series that wavers between psychedelic and surreal. Often Voight situates himself as the subject within, posing in contortions with body twisted, mouth gaping, and fingers extended, evoking images of fantastical otherworldly spirits. Yet even with the wildly expressive and gestural marks of paint against hazy ethereal kaleidoscopic backdrops, Voight expertly achieves balance in the tension between raw human frustration and cathartic emotional release.  Through a desire to come to terms with inevitable human suffering, Voight uses himself to create a character with which the viewer can emotionally relate. Through skillful photo manipulation and hand-painted overlay, his body no longer becomes his own. In The Sickly King, his form teeters precariously between the grotesque of bent limbs and the beauty of achieving physical liberation. Chest thrust forward and skin smeared with paint, Voight’s body exudes a primal nature that stands in tension with the spiritually transcendent aureole behind and the razor-like halo emanating from his face. Similarly, in New Mantle, the human form is drastically abstracted. Legs are reduced to paint drips while black scrawls obscure the faces. White paint caked onto the skin outlines the ripples of knotted muscle and the elegant lines of outstretched arms. Through both works, we are left with a dark yet ecstatic performative gesture that seeks to express a euphoric mental break. Only from the abstraction are we, the viewers, able to escape the burdens of our own world and step into the artist’s spectral dreamland.  This series succeeds in emphasizing innate tension within human nature and the honesty of the human struggle to find solace from within. The works incite powerful visceral reactions through the push and pull of the duality of the liberation we aspire towards and the primality from which we evolved. While these characters may seem alien, it is their foreign exoticism that invites us to question our own troubles and challenges us to let go. Albatross functions as a spiritual altar to the tribulations of being mortal and the efforts to break free from the vicious cycle of human suffering. In the end, while the albatross and its curse remain, Voight sheds light on the darkness."                                                      -Tiffany Fung