Text: Alec Coiro
All Images Courtesy of Safe Gallery
From the charming quote “Also, I was always fascinated with my enormous nose, almost obsessed with it” to the playful lines in his paintings, the Alex Eagleton show at Safe Gallery is sure to charm you to bits and pieces. While the show is entitled This is Heaven, the nose clearly looms larger in the paintings than any celestial body.
The facial protrusion takes its protruded nature to various lengths, perhaps reaching its maximum elongation in Sleeping with the Stars and Cloud Head where the nose becomes almost a line in and of itself. Anytime this particular subject matter is evoked so overtly, one is put in mind of Gogol’s The Nose. And as in that short story, Eagleton explores the absurd quite richly as the nose takes on a life of its own. Indeed, it is extraordinary refreshing to see abstraction — which has been fully explored in painting — substituted with a kind of absurdism. I think this is what draws me to Eagleton’s paintings, and makes them stand out as exceptional.
Of course, one would be remiss not to mention the other exceptional thing about these paintings, namely that they use a mirror as the canvas, thereby making their meaning uniquely site specific. They also reflect your own facial features back at you as you look at them. In the current show, the effect is to amalgamate all the paintings in one, as each is reflected in the surface of the others. It’s an experience that is obviously impossible to recreate in the photographs that we’re running, so anyone who’s intrigued is recommended to visit Safe Gallery and see the show (and their reflection in it) for themselves before it closes on November 4th.