pitch, slip is an exhibition of new paintings by Oshawa-raised artist Alex Close concerned with the slippery nature of effort and trust. Employing organic tones beside brash bursts of colour, Close’s chaotic compositions disorient and destabilize the viewer, placing them in a position to question what they see. Like sedimentary rocks, these works are composites, not of fossils and minerals, but of abstract shapes and surface textures. For her, these works allude to distant memories and speculative places, but she is excited by the diversity of interpretations different viewers will find in these elusive planes.
The exhibition’s title might bring a handful of specific actions to mind: a singer strives to reach a certain note; a pitcher throws a ball to a player at bat; an employee pitches a new project to their boss. The title also points to a tent pitched and slippery slopes. These divergent definitions, of effort and uneven ground, all influenced the creation of this new body of work; however, Close is particularly interested in the mutual construction of meaning in public space. Her paintings invite the viewer to exert the same kind of effort they might put towards deciphering truth in an image-saturated world.
Alongside instances of voices wavering or tosses falling short, Close is also interested in the slippages of her own memory. Reflecting on an unrealistic desire to remember places and events with absolute clarity, she leans into the patchy nature of remembrance, allowing fleeting impressions to compose imperfect, but provocative images in her mind. Translating those memory maps into paintings, Close ponders the nature of trust as it relates to the images we encounter, not only in our day-to-day lives, but those preserved in our own minds. Like a fond memory reworked with each reminiscence, her compositions are approximations, ideas pitched and slipping, somehow faithful and deceptive at the same time.
This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation’s RBC Emerging Artist Project.
Installation of pitch, slip at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2023. Images by Toni Hafkenscheid.