alexis soul-gray – lecturer
Alexis completed her Foundation at Central Saint Martins and graduated in 2003 with a degree in Drawing from Camberwell College of Art before studying at post graduate level on The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School. She is currently studying MA Painting at The Royal College of Art. She has exhibited regularly since graduation and has received various prizes and bursary awards, particularly for draughtsmanship. Alexis has taught in a variety of formal and non-formal settings including Oxford Brookes University and University of East London. She has curated three large-scale art events bringing together dozens of artists in unusual settings. Last year Alexis’s work was included in the Thames and Hudson Publication ‘Ways of Drawing’. In 2020 she was shortlisted for The Mother Art Prize, John Moores Painting Prize and awarded mentoring with Procreate Project. Alexis has two young children and has a studio practice at her home in Ashburton, Devon.
My practice is concerned with loss, memory and grief. Speculative questioning about the memorial, memory and commemoration bring together a conjecture of imagery taken from personal and public archival materials. Through painting, collage and assemblage I deface and rearrange found images and objects.
I work on canvas, linen, wood and paper. I have recently been drawn in particular to salvaged found paper ephemera such as vintage embroidery transfers, bible pages, knitting patterns and magazines/books that give advice and instruction about domestic success. I explore the fluid nature of recall, allowing intuition to lead the work through various states of exploration until reaching a resting place. I often work in layers, deliberately interrupting images through overlap/obstruction as an attempt to create a visceral representation of the thought process. Abstraction and figuration hold equal significance, Images are continuously intersecting, abrasive, harmonious, removed…a tangible manifestation of a multi-layered interior state.
I am interested in the stillness found in studio shot images of children and women, floristry, knitting and other domestic crafts. Almost like puppets and dolls in play, I take them on a journey of change and exploration. These images were not designed to be used in paintings, their intended use was cheap printed instructional material and quickly forgotten books. Many of the images I work with date from the 1930’s-1980’s, they represent personal ancestry, collective histories, traditions and loss.