Did I say suspense? The paintings of Jason Shawn Alexander

In a previous post I briefly mentioned the artwork of Jason Shawn Alexander, whose work is currently exhibited in a group exhibition with, among others, Sarah Folkman. But Alexander is not an artist one can briefly mention without giving him your full attention, even if this is only for one blogposting.

Alexander’s work is a lot of things, but ‘cheerful’ is not one of them. As he puts it himself, on his website: “The subject is suspended in moments of pain or sorrow.” A description like that could point in the direction of adolescent paintings, filled with gore, but it could also describe the paintings of brilliant artists like Francis Bacon. Fortunately, Alexander’s paintings have a lot more in common with the latter. That is; had Bacon been employed by Stan Lee to do a comics version of his paintings. Alexander, who is also a very gifted illustrator, is a virtuoso with the brush.

Alexander does not overdo it with all the pain and suffering. He leaves his audience room to come up for air; “The ultimate expression, however, is one of survival, if not hope.” And he doesn’t overdo it with the realism either; even though his talent as comics artist shines through, on closer inspection the undeniable personality of the brush is there. It’s not work that would have looked just as good, had it been a pen and ink image.

Perhaps it’s not the sort of stuff you’d take your mother to go and see on a sunday morning (not that I know your mom’s taste), but that can be said for many works. To me, the paintings feel true and the images sincere.

Works by Jason Shawn Alexendar were recently in a group exhibition in the Corey Hertford Gallery. After taking a quick peek at his blog, I guess the results were pleasing to the artist. And as a fan of great painting, I can only agree to that.


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