works from the 1980’s
On Will Alexander’s work
WILL ALEXANDER: THE COLLISION AND COLLUSION OF TRANCE AND CHANCE
Does it make sense to call Will Alexander an outsider artist? Yes and no. On the one hand, he’s pretty much self-taught; certainly he’s had no formal instruction as a visual artist. On the other hand, he’s clearly better acquainted with the European and American modernist tradition than many a “professional” artist or gallerist. Outside the art world, he could be no more inside surrealism. One thinks of Masson’s drawings, Tanguy’s gouaches, or perhaps most especially Onslow Ford’s avowal of line, circle, and dot as the fundamentals of visual perception in illustrated, handwritten books like Painting in the Instant (1964). Yet even here there’s a material luxury that eludes Will, whose work is most frequently executed in colored pencil or black pen. His work is raw, his color crude and ecstatic, his line seething with nervous energy born from a process of automatism. His compositions aren’t composed, in other words, but rather result from the collision and collusion of trance and chance. Like his poems, his drawings are unfiltered expressions of surreality, for which he serves simultaneously as antenna and seismograph.
Explosive, cellular and with infolding synaptic whorl is the art of Will Alexander, it pulses in time with a not-yet invented chronologic
What the viewer catches is just a sliver in the evolution Will sets in motion, or which sets Will into motion. I don’t see the skeleton in his work because there isn’t one. Gossamer bone if anything. Whole worlds come to roost in his drawings. They bring to us flinted glimmer and nest-worthy cosmologies
Kites and gyres abound. Lures glint to bring in radiation from other eyes. The spiny and swaying chandeliers of intergalactic static percolating at the furthest edges of one’s ability to perceive the entirety, simultaneously gaseous and fibrous, filled with the salts of otherworlds
I’ve been in the presence of Will’s drawings and the telepathic fuzz that is emitted from each one silently ignites in me a language I never knew I could comprehend. Will’s work avoids dominant art grammars with ease, evokes the play of the egg and an unabashed enthusiasm for visual lemuriforms, that alien glossolalia that spills out from under his hand into a swirl that commands abandon