Surreal, mesmerizing and eerie in its own way, Alexandra Levasseur depicts females in distress amidst surreal landscapes that seem to be coming out of a dream. Her paintings consist of central issues explored, such as fear, desire and love where the paintings are a little reminiscent of Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. We sit down and get to know Alexandra's work a bit better.
Where are you currently based? And do you produce your work in a studio or at home?
I live in Montreal and rent a studio very close to my apartment.
What medium do you use and what made you start going into paintings in the first place?
I like to use a mix of oil painting and coloured pencils, usually on paper or wood panel. I was influenced at a very early age by my grandmother who used to paint. It never left me. There was a lot of mystery and depth in her paintings, a strange and powerful world that would hypnotize me.
Your works are often quite collage like: highly visual and express true surrealism; beautifully grotesque - what sort of artists do you look at to draw your inspiration from?
The French symbolists have always been a great source of inspiration: Gustave Moreau, Odilon Redon, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, etc. Also Edvard Munch, Matisse and Gauguin. Regarding contemporary painters, I really enjoy the work of Canadian artists Marcel Dzama and Kim Dorland. Filmmakers Maya Deren and Alain Resnais are very important to me too.
Your characters in the paintings are often all females, and look emotionally tortured; are you trying to capture something in your paintings or rather represent something in them?
My characters mostly represent fear, confusion, angryness and desire toward their environment. The figures and backgrounds merge together in a physical relationship, it is some kind of investigation about the origin of the enigmatic beauty of nature.
What is the process of creating your paintings like? Do you get an idea and develop it? Or do you just start on them straight away?
I develop an idea. I do a series of sketches from collages I make, and I work simultaneously on various pieces, allowing one to dry between oil paint layers.
I find your colour palette for all your paintings extremely interesting. They are subtle, yet dark at the same time. Do you develop a colour scheme for each series?
Yes! I like the series to have a similar colour palette. I plan it in advance, when doing the sketches.
What are you currently working on now and when is your next exhibition?
I am finalizing the work to be exhibited in my solo show in 2 weeks! From May 4th to 31th at Galerie Roccia, Montreal. I'm also working on an animated videoclip and preparing for a new large scale series.