Double majoring in sculpture and printmaking, while working in the basic premise of industrial design and sometimes dabbling in video and performance, Alexander James Stewart's solo exhibition at the Hydeaway is convincing proof that the future of contemporary art will be interdisciplinary in process, and perhaps, praxis.
Only a third year undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, Stewart has appeared in past Student shows, from an honorable mention as a Victoria Composite student to last year's Student Design Association show where he performed as furniture (where his performance as object in fact reveals the purpose of why we create furniture and the functionality of objects), the current exhibition is his first solo show before an upcoming SDA group exhibition in November.
In a brief conversation, Stewart comes across more curious than precocious, intelligent than conceited, and his works carry a tone of an artist learning more about himself and his capacities. In one of his latest pieces in progress that is currently on exhibit, the bare bones white outline of a three dimensional shape takes shape against a heavily textured black and white background. Achieving this sculptural white outline by first constructing a shape with LED lights and then drawing its lines, Stewart still plans on sewing the outline onto the physical canvas to achieve yet another layer, and in so doing bringing back the element of an object into the piece.
Lucid in his approach to art making, where many art students and artists become bogged down by the histories of their predecessors in either mimicking or overcoming their achievements, Alexander James Stewart is offering something unique in just being himself.
All images are credited to: Alexander James Stewart, 2009