In painting, I seek to unpack popular notions of leisure, and its relationship to landscape. I am investigating the ways in which outdoor leisure activities utilize landscape as an aesthetic backdrop to frame the exhilarating pursuits of its participants. Much like a stage set for a theatre production, wilderness becomes a dormant backcloth to the highly aestheticized language of outdoor leisure and recreation. This aestheticizing of space occurs largely through the equipment used in such activities, such as the recreational machines which function as toy-like vessels for movement through space – machines which I like to call leisure machines. These highly designed objects are purposed to navigate through particular settings, to be looked at in a particular context – ‘the outdoors’ – and while relying on these aesthetic contexts for validation, the machines subsume their surroundings into their visual language. Such unification of machine and landscape is reinforced in representative media such as advertising, film, lifestyle magazines, and computer games. Through painting, I am also reinforcing this relationship as I seek to explore the ways in which leisure aestheticizes locations, and vice versa.
Image rights: Photographer: Louis Grobler Artwork copyright holder: Alex Landon Richardson
Alex Landon Richardson was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1986. Working within the discourse of contemporary painting, her work explores notions of landscape and leisure, unwrapping notions of ‘wilderness’ as aesthetic backdrop to the various pursuits of outdoor leisure and recreational activity. Through the vehicle of large-scale paintings, she explores the relationship between what she names ‘leisure machines’ and their inherent dependency upon the aestheticized backdrop of wilderness landscape – particularly, landscapes which have been exploited for recreational purposes.
Alex Landon Richardson completed an MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London, in London, United Kingdom in 2013. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 2008. Since 2009, her professional career has involved the completion of various commissioned works and participation in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Europe and South Africa. Her work has been exhibited in Toronto, Vienna, London, and Johannesburg. She has been invited for residencies in Spain and South Africa, and currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is an instructor in Fine Art at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Her work will be exhibited in an upcoming solo exhibition in Toronto in May, 2015.