Vikky Alexander

b. 1959

Vicky Alexander is a Canadian artist who has been exhibiting photographs, montages, sculptures, collages and installations for more than three decades.  An appropriation artist she is loosely affiliated with Picture Generations artists Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, and Barbara Kruger from New York’s East Village in the 1980s.  Her work often uses glass or plexiglass to investigate consumer culture and its methods of display and enticement

Alexander graduated in 1979 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.  She moved to New York and lived there from 1979 to 1992 where she appropriated found images from the consumer culture such as “Vogue.” She used a 35 mm camera to shoot isolated images from photos of ads and had her negatives printed.  By cropping, enlarging, etc. she made manipulations out of advertisements. She often worked with fashion images to show how the female body is used to generate consumer spending.  She would photograph a beautiful man and woman posed in an embrace and then put a black plexiglass over the picture. This would allow a viewer to see herself superimposed over the image. Sometimes she would even use religious symbols to suggest shopping as a spiritual pursuit.

In the mid-1980s she began using existing materials such as wallpaper, mirrors, and paneling from home design stores to construct pavilions that were not to be entered into but would give the viewer the illusion of being in paradise.  In 1986, her “Lake in the Woods,” a corridor-installation to show a constructed way in which nature is experienced, garnered critical attention.  

In the 1990s, she began once again taking her own photographs rather than relying on found images. She photographed malls, shopping centers, and windows of elegant shops in Tokyo, Istanbul, and Paris. She photographed storefronts and presented her images in light boxes that evoked the figures of commercial advertising. Her photos also included the reflections that caught people passing by and life on the street.

She visited entertainment attractions in Las Vegas and Disneyland and was drawn to the idealized representations of nature.  These places were so hyperreal that her job was to document the extravagant simulations for what they were – spectacles of dreams.

In 1992, she relocated to teach photography in the Visual Art Department at the University of Victoria splitting her time between Victoria and Vancouver. Alexander has exhibited internationally in dozens of solo and group exhibition. Her work was exhibited in a retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the summer of 2019.

Her work is in the permanent collections of Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Arts, National Center of Photography, National Gallery of Canada, 

More here.

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