Livingston’s DEER paintings are inspired by 18th and 19th century European hunting prints and paintings with this creature as iconic subject. Additionally they are influenced by astoundingly real wildlife dioramas at natural history museums Livingston recently visited in Chicago, New York, London and Halifax.
Using his imagination and digital collage and mark making techniques and tools, Livingston reworks 19th century drawings of deer — painting them and placing them in specific landscapes, blending photographic and painted backdrops with line drawings of trees, plants and other wildlife. It is a conscious reference to the layered dimensionality of dioramas and their crafted spaces where animals that were once alive continue to dwell in simulated realistic landscapes.
Dioramas collapse the artificial with the real to fashion a credible illusion. Similarly, Livingston depicts deer in natural landscapes through digital means combining the codes of painting with elements of collage, photography, and mixed media. The result draws attention to the difficulties of ascertaining what has been hand-crafted in a digital age and whether it matters within the tradition of painting.
Above all, these images speak to the compelling qualities of deer. Their characteristic stare, agility, speed and antlers have inspired many symbolic associations. In various traditions the deer represents kindness, softness, intuition, gentleness, peace, tranquility, regeneration and longevity. As well, deer’s antlers have been likened to a crown growing beyond its body, lending the animal spiritual authority through its connection to the sky and the sacred. These associations stretch through time from these thoughtful classical, traditional understandings to today’s more familiar notions of deer as Bambi or garden raider.
Over a period of four decades, Livingston has frequently circled back to the subject of the natural world in his paintings. He holds a BFA from NSCAD University and an MFA from London’s Chelsea School of Art. Livingston lives in Halifax where he is a Professor at NSCAD University teaching drawing and painting.
Exhibitions by Alex Livingston, Sydney Blum, and Curtis Botham. I was standing in an art gallery recently talking about what makes an artwork a painting or not. The answer seems obvious: if a painter paints, it’s a painting. But hold on. That conversation took place with Deborah Carver of Studio 21, and it was sparked…Read More
At the opening of Alex Livingston’s “Flowers” at Studio 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was speaking with a local arts reporter when it became apparent that she thought she was looking at paint on canvas. Days later, while in the gallery taking notes for this review, I heard two women standing in front of…Read More
Art collectors wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the artists who create the work. Collectors and galleries need artists just as artists need gallery representation. If an artist is represented by a gallery it gives collectors assurance that the work they are buying is being vouched for by a professional. BUT a commonly asked question…Read More
After developing an allergy to solvents, oil painter Alex Livingston went into the frontier of digital painting and exhibits a new series of work, Flowers, at Studio 21 that play with ideas of real and unreal, reference the history of flower painting itself and point to the future. Alex Livingston brings 17th-century Dutch flower painting…Read More
Alex Livingston’s Flowers, a new series of floral digital paintings, is now hanging on the walls of Studio 21. It’s been 10 years since Alex put down his paint brush because of a developing sensitivity to paint. Since then he has been developing expertise using computer tools to make “digital paintings”. As he said at…Read More
Art I Want You will be a regular column on our blog. Myself and guest experts will enlighten you on the art of collecting. This first post includes some introductory thoughts to keep in mind when getting started with your collection. For those already on their way as collectors, please bear with me. Posters, paintings,…Read More
Studio 21 returned last week from Art Wynwood, an art fair in Miami. We exhibited six artists and sold pieces by Alex Livingston, David Sorensen and Jean-Sebastien Denis. In November, we were in Chicago at a fair called SOFA and in October it was Art Toronto. Attending art fairs is a way to find new…Read More
New works by Alex Livingston & Katie Belcher are the subject of the next exhibition at Studio 21, running from March 3rd to 29th. The exhibition includes new floral digital paintings by established Halifax artist and NSCAD painting professor Alex Livingston and a three component show of charcoal drawings, photography and a large energetic wall…Read More
While digital imagery is often cold or alien, Alex Livingston creates exciting, luminous environments of hotly coloured lines. They are jungles or sea beds or magic forests begging a viewer to brush aside the hanging ropes and enter. Livingston, a Nova Scotia artist and NSCAD University painting professor, has had a long, successful career as…Read More
Kye-Yeon Son: Vessel/Jewelry is one of the most deeply moving shows of metal art that I’ve ever seen. This show could be called The Passion of Metal. It’s as emotionally powerful as the tortured, highly crafted, over-the-top drama of an Alexander McQueen fashion show and, yet, it’s so quiet. Its power lies in whispers and…Read More