My practice encompasses installations of various scales with sculptural and pictorial elements; and dance. I’m fascinated by making plastic the non-verbal part of our communication and interactions. Foregrounding the physical in our experiences to make ‘what situations feel like to touch’. The work is poetic, tactile and connected to the expressing visceral body. Body is referred to indirectly through poetic abstractions of body-like materials; cultural abstractions like gestures; and ubiquitous experiences of day to day physicality like getting up from sitting on grass with its imprint on the back of your legs; or the inner tension of supressing a whole story of gestures with one unreadable blank expression.
Collage is the through-line: I improvise or find elements and collage them together into images, installations or performances. In my visual language I weave relationships between real/artificial and play with materiality and scale. Performance works provide an exploration of states of being, recently the failed momentum of loss and mourning; and an extended period of boredom. The strands in my work inform each other - narratives from the dance work playing out in the sculptural installations. The work could extend into film and projection mapping. Micro- narratives that refer to situations or scenarios to do with interactions are beginning to appear and I would like to develop these.
I’m interested in theories that put the body centre stage over language as a structural element, Brian Massumi and Eve Sedgewick, Affect Theory, Visceral Theory, and before that Julia Kristeva and Helen Cixous. Also in psychology, especially the writings of Darrian Leader (What is Madness; The New Black) along with popular psychology books by Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence; why it can matter more than IQ; Social Intelligence; the new science of social relationships) and John Gottman (The Relationship Cure). I'd be interested to connect with Psychology and Social Sciences researchers and relevant research groups.
At the moment I’m really interested in how people impact on each other and why- and I’m interested in communication blocks and what happens to the body as a result of the tension that they create. What do these situations between people feel like in an embodied sense, what would they be like if they were an object or something that you could touch or see, are they huge or tiny? How does that tension manifest physically... etc.
Through being part of a performance collective under the direction of choreographer Adrian Look, I’ve practised a framework for working with narrative through performance research - using improvisation to find answers to statements/situations. Drawing on Pina Bausch’s Tanztheatre technique of asking mobilising questions: i.e. ‘Make a phrase of frustration because no- one understands you’. I am currently working on ways to use this framework to direct research with dancers as part of my own work
I’ve also been making a series of sculptural investigations - making around a particular state or vignette of situation/scenario with some narrative hints, developing making skills to extend the work through materials and investigating how images and films could become part of the form of the work, including projection, transferring images onto plaster and using screens in the work. I am working on resolving these.
Since 2016 I’ve had steady traction: Metal commissioned my largest freestanding sculpture for Village Green Festival (Culture Lab Residency). I showed new movement work at SPACE, London following 6-months development support, writing and directing for the first time and fully proving my choreography/devising ability. I’ve grown my network and am regularly invited to show in artist-led exhibitions nationally: i.o.u.a.e/SHELF Spanish City, Newcastle; Scaffold Gallery/Paradise Works Manchester: Peer Social, Assembly Point & Recreation Grounds London. My work was included in Psycho published by Broken Grey Wires and I set up and run the visual art commissioning programme at Green Man festival now in its fourth year.
At a time when there is increasing focus and daily exposure to virtual and simulated experience, Alexis is interested in foregrounding physicality and its role in our experiences. She is interested in the relationship between the real and the artificial, materiality and scale. Her practice has sculptural and pictorial elements which are combined in installations of varying scales.
Touch is the building block of our ability to imagine and understand the three dimensional world. It’s a corner stone of child development and a human need. It has contents and is communicative. The simulation of physicality and 3D space is an integral part of our lives and it merges with actual 3D space fluidly.
Recent installations utlise tactile materials and enlarged photographic images of made objects. These elements are 'of the body' and make visible the physicality that runs continuously and often undetected in the background of our daily experiences. They come about through hands-on improvisation with materials, informed by research into the experience of physicality on a micro level that Alexis carries out through dancing (contemporary Limón and Cunningham techniques, and partner dancing): exploring gravity, contact/partnering, how one thing can lean on, impact on or give weight to another, qualities of energy and muscular action.
This has grown out of previous major works which involved the construction of environments in white cube settings and on outdoor sites. These integrated formal elements, fabricated and usually abstract, with made or found objects. Room-filling in scale they required the mobile viewer to explore the scene in order for meaning to unfold over a duration of time. They often involved urgent colour, selected to illicit a physical response in the viewer.
Research includes interviews with leading figures in the conversation between visual art and dance: Siobhan Davies, dance artist and curator/commissioner of interdisciplinary collaborative projects; and Stephanie Rosenthal, Curator, Hayward; and study of Lacanian approaches to psychoanalysis.
In 2010 Alexis participated on a two week-long professional development residency for choreographers at Sadler's Wells called The Big Intensive as part of the Jerwood Studio programme. She is currently part of the London Creative Network artist development programme at SPACE, London, and is exploring how dance might come into the work directly using a series of her written texts about touch as structuring element in close relationships which can define each partner in relation to one another.