Vikky Alexander (born January 30, 1959) is a Canadian contemporary artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has exhibited internationally since 1981. Working across mediums she is a leading practitioner in the field of photo-conceptualism and is well known as an installation artist who uses photography, drawing, and collage. She is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary artists and has been recognized in Japan, Korea, Europe, New Zealand and the United States. Her work includes mirrors, photographic landscape murals, postcards collected on her travels, and her own photography and video.
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Vikky Alexander was born in Victoria, Canada and is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She is known for her large scale photo-mural installations and multimedia works that combine photography with sculptural objects. These works foreground a strong interest in the history of architecture, the fields of design and fashion supported by the production of drawing and collage. Her early work informed the movement of Appropriation art in the early 1980s for which she is historically recognized as the youngest innovator of the tendency alongside Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine. Alexander's more recent body of work uses collage and digital transfer technology onto printed canvas. Since 1992 Alexander has been professor of photography in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Victoria in Canada.
She has exhibited internationally in solo exhibitions including CEPA Buffalo 1983, New Museum, New York City 1985, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern 1990, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver 1992, Mercer Union, Toronto 1993, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver 1996, Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor 1998, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver 1999, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa 2000, State Gallery, Vancouver 2004, Trepanier Baer Gallery, Calgary 2009, Massey University, Wellington 2010. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Dia Art Foundation, New York, Yokohama Civic Art Gallery, Yokohama, Barbican Art Gallery, London, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle.
She was also included in the comprehensive exhibition Interdidal of Vancouver School artists held at MuHKA in Antwerp in 2004. The significance of this exhibition drew attention to her influence over two prominent movements in contemporary art production, one in New York and the other in Vancouver. An earlier body of work anticipated Appropriation art while her later artworks deepened the language of Photo-conceptualism, which became the larger tendency of the Vancouver School internationally. Collections of her work can be found in the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, International Center of Photography, New York City, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and the Deste Foundation, Athens. Vikky Alexander is represented by Trepanier Baer Gallery in Calgary.
The pioneering Vancouver School artist and writer Ian Wallace relates how her work is "an expression of the imaginary, wherein fantasies of hope and utopia are acted out in the daydreams that call reality into question. These are collective fantasies and are linked to popular taste for images that transcend the everyday. The images of extreme beauty, which are ubiquitous in commodity culture, function as a cult of escape from the everyday. While the aspiration of much conceptual art has been to present critical images that contradict and shatter these fantasies with the force of reality, Vikky Alexander's work projects the raw indulgence that exists on the inside of these fantasies, heightening our apprehension and anxieties of them from within."
Conceptual artist and critic Dan Graham has remarked on the context of design in her work and its relationship to audiences in the 1980s. "Two-dimensional design can be used to reflect corporate identity, social/political identity and individual identity. Examples of graphic markers of individual identity (which often serve to correlate that identity to corporate or social/political interests) are personalized T-shirts, personal stationery and business cards, greeting cards and the like. (T-shirts imprinted with logotypes are a good example of either corporate or social identities being used by individuals as a sign of individual identity.) These "personal" items mark an "individual" identity that is socially prescribed by convention and commercial systems of exchange. Recently, such artists as Louise Lawler, Kim Gordon, Michael Asher and Vikky Alexander have designed cards, interiors and matches for individual clients. These "products" are neither part of commercial mass production nor designed for gallery exhibition and sale as art objects. They set up a peculiar and ambivalent relation between artist and client . . . Thus the kind of designer-client relationship that is constructed inherently questions values of both "design" and art receivership, in psychological as well as social/esthetic terms."
The American curator Dan Cameron is quoted reviewing a large scale installation work titled Lake of the Woods from 1986: "Vikky Alexander's narrow gallery environment consisting of an idyllic photo-mural diptych, which faces a large prefabricated wall unit, this in turn supporting a row of mirror panels at shoulder height. Only by standing at either end of the room could one take in the entire piece: nature as decorative artifice, figment of a universally synthetic consciousness."
Alexander, Vikky, and Ian Wallace. Vikky Alexander: Vaux-Le-Vicomte Panorama. Vancouver: Contemporary Art Gallery, 1999.,
Alexander, Vikky. Vikky Alexander: Lake in the Woods. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 1992.,
Alexander, Vikky. Beneath the Paving Stones. Vancouver: Charles H. Scott Gallery, 1994.,
Augaitis, Daina. Reconnaissance: Three Panoramic Views: Vikky Alexander, Ray Arden, Jamelie Hassan. Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery, 1987.,
Cameron, Dan. "Post Feminism". Flash Art. February/March 1987.,
Ferguson, Bruce W., and Gary Dufour. Pastfuturetense: Vikky Alexander, Kari Cavén, Ronald Jones, Rui Sanches, Erwin Wurn, Klaus Von Bruch, David Diao, Jac Leirner, Barbara Todd. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1990.,
Ferguson, Bruce W. Vikky Alexander: Glass Sculpture. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern, 1990.,
Graham, Dan. "Signs." Artforum. April 1981,
Hagen, Charles. "Commodity Image." New York Times. 1993.,
Linker, Kate. "Review." Artforum. March 1985.,
O'Brien, Melanie, and Vikky Alexander. Vikky Alexander. Vancouver, B.C.: Catriona Jeffries Gallery, 2000.,
Solomon-Godeau, Abigail. Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions, and Practices. Media & society, 4. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991.,
Wallis, Brian. Vikky Alexander. Calgary: Stride Gallery, 1989.,
Watson, Scott, and Dieter Roelstraete. Intertidal: Vancouver Art & Artists. Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 2005.
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