Alex O’Neal


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Artist Statement

My paintings and drawings idiosyncratically depict circumstances that associate Americans, i.e. dysfunction, nature worship, cults, homegrown terrorism, Hollywood, reverence for Native America. There is formal influence from stylization found in Romanesque fresco, early American portrait painting, and rock-n-roll imagery. After the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta, my work slowly referred to homegrown terrorists and militant hillbillies á la Eric Rudolph. In my scenarios, intense, flamboyant hippies, somewhere between vigilantes and anarchists, are “disguised” from the viewer, but seem challenged to hide within society.

After September 11, my imagery referred to dreams of mine I called Mesopotamian nightmares that had lion and tiger attacks. Narratives eventually included other animals and earlier backwoods terrorists to make a very unpeaceable kingdom in works like “Mississippi Law: STOP”, “The Mean Hippies”, and “Untitled (Mesopotamian Dream)”. Some characters are in an ancient frame of mind, being “touched by the tiger”. Mean hippies, already attempting to fortify themselves through associations with animals, have various personal talismans, i.e. the bullet-riddled STOP sign, a peppermint shoestring. Supernatural characters speak star language, increasingly resemble animals, personify landscape and weather, and lick the sun for the ultimate empowerment from nature.

Alex O’Neal’s Website

Alex O’Neal at the Linda Warren Gallery