Julian Alexander Draws the Quotidian — and the Nocturnal | Visual Art | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Julian Alexander Draws the Quotidian — and the Nocturnal


Published September 21, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated September 21, 2022 at 10:21 a.m.

"Late at Night" by Julian Adon Alexander - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • "Late at Night" by Julian Adon Alexander

Drawings and paintings by a young artist from New York City inject a slice of urban life at Kishka Gallery & Library in White River Junction. Julian Adon Alexander, who earned his BFA at the School of Visual Arts, favors depictions of quotidian — and nocturnal — scenes around his Queens neighborhood. His subjects are "places and people that one might walk by on the way to a destination and otherwise not pay attention to," explains a gallery statement.

Alexander is not the first or only artist to enshrine on paper his close observations of "the unremarkable." But his style is certainly his own. Densely toned drawings in graphite center Black faces and dark objects against equally dark skies. The result is murky, mysterious compositions that require close looking — like trying to find one's way in a moonless night. Yet details emerge with startling clarity, such as wheel rims on a car, the graceful arch of a metal light post, the mortar in a brick wall.

A curious character recurs in some of Alexander's drawings: a blobby, presumably human figure swaddled from head to toe in black. Only large, catlike eyes peer out from the masked face, usually watching another person in the composition. Is he stalker or protector? Whatever this figure may signify to Alexander, its bogeyman quality is universally relatable.

The artist's paintings use more color, contrast and negative space, and the cover illustrations shown on his website emphasize his gift for portraiture.

Alexander's exhibition, "Effigies," is on view at Kishka through October 2. A closing reception is noon to 3 p.m. Pictured: "Late at Night."