Saturday, 14 December 2013

Alex Clarke - The Collector

Leaving our artists Wayne Sleeth and of course the inimitable Peter S Smith behind with the Bankside Gallery Alban and I make our way along the Southbank route - easy on the feet, easy on the eye, largely due to the innumerable number of familiar landmarks adorning our immediate backdrop.
Social Advent no.15 - sitting pretty on a lifebelt along the
During today's stroll we find the perfect opportunity to introduce new artist, Alex Clarke, releasing his artwork; The Collector, with a well positioned lifebelt offering itself up as a community plinth!

Alex has already carved out a diverse career within the art world, travelling to California with his family at the age of 17 and discovering a talent for sculpture and product design. Upon his return to the UK he continued his training on the BA course at Buckingham College as a furniture designer and maker, putting these much desired skills to good use in some of London's bespoke and prodigious galleries as point man for exhibition installs.

The Collector by Alex Clarke
With so many skills and creative responses at his disposal Alex shares with us an image of a homeless man digging around in the trash - a photo taken in the subways of New York City. These tile based symbols have become instantly recognisable to New Yorkers and ironically seem to have become quite acceptable - is this type of acceptance 'acceptable'? Is it enough just to become aware of the issues that affect many homeless in our cities or are we just accepting of their existence in the same way that buildings pop up around us and we take them in briefly before they fade into familiarity?

Art certainly has a way of addressing some of these social debates and empowers us to make statements even if we haven't yet been asked our opinion!

Opening the Doors on Alex Clarke's offering
Today's artwork has been a welcomed response to Cardboard City from Alex Clarke, who, despite leading a busy lifestyle working around the world installing exhibitions has submitted a profound image for us to ponder and in the process collaborated with one of his oldest friends - welcome to the club Alex.


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