Alex Paik

Gallery Affiliations: Gallery Joe

Region: Northeast


City / State: Brooklyn, NY

It's tough to really take an artistic stance when the radical ideas of Dada are employed by companies to sell more burgers (see: Burger King's "Wake up to the King" ad series) and when the proud traditions of Abstract Expressionism can be bought in watered-down, mass-produced form at Ikea (I think I even saw Laurie from Trading Spaces make a fake Hans Hoffman to match her room). The idea of a sincere statement seems completely foreign to someone like me who grew up watching cartoons that were filled with irony and shows like Pee Wee's Playhouse which seemed to revel in their absurdity. Being brought up in this sort of environment made it difficult to me to answer questions like "Is this work ironic or isn't it?" from older critics. My answer always was: "It's both... I guess." I use cartoon and video game imagery to create quirky abstract paintings somewhere between the quilts of Gee's Bend and Thomas Nozkowski. I firmly believe in the continued exploration of abstract painting, but I also believe that it is pretty dumb and old fashioned. I love children's cartoons and video games, but I also realize the naïve escapism that comes with using these sources in the midst of international crises.

I want my paintings to be like a great indie pop song: funny in its sappiness, tragically sad in its hopeless romanticism, stuck in that weird place between sincerity and irony. Besides, happy is the new sad.