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Sara R here.  Tonight we are celebrating the surreal art of our own asterkitty, aka Alexandra Levin.  I have a taste for the surreal so I am very excited that we have an opportunity to enjoy Alexandra's paintings tonight.  Below the orange squiggle, she will explain a bit about her art, her process, and present some paintings to you.  If you would like to buy any of the work, please message asterkitty or contact Alexandra through her website.

Patric Juillet is catering tonight and our music is provided by ulookarmless.  Come in, be comfortable, and enjoy the art and each other's company!

Take a bite of these surrealistic morsels then peruse at will!

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Listen to Pink Floyd as you look around the gallery at Asterkitty's marvelous work:


Hello!

AJLevin_Star
Star, ©2000, 8x8”, oil on panel (NFS)

Thank you for coming by this evening. I am thrilled to see you here. Tonight is a triple-event; Gallery Kos reception, website launch party and special sale preview. The launch of my completely re-developed painting website is linked below. Please stop by on your way out. I am also holding a special sale with discounted prices on some of my work, and I am offering these pieces to my fellow Kossacks first. The link for this sale is also at the bottom of this diary. The prices quoted in this diary are based on previous sales. I have not raised my prices in years. Artists are not part of the 1%.

I hope you scooped up something yummy to nibble on above the orange squirrel. And now, on with the show.

The painting above is my current avatar. My civilian name is Alexandria Levin. I have been painting in oils since I was a teenager, and it’s been a long time since then, so there is much history. It’s all on my website. After attending two art schools on either coast; Mass Art and San Francisco Art Institute (BFA 1989), another eight years went by before I learned how to draw in a representational manner. Yep, I painted for 22 years before knowing how to draw. And when I finally learned, I went a little crazy. I even had a religious experience in front of a Vermeer at the National Gallery complete with heavenly beams of light. This was around the time I began with the toys and other odd still-lifes, and left the larger narrative canvases behind.

The models for my work came from thrift stores and flea markets and yard sales, as I am a solitary painter and can’t have a human model in my studio. I latched onto stuffed animals, the more strange the better, although on occasion I will paint somebody sweet. When beginning one of these paintings I intuit where the subject is set. Composition is crucial to telling the story, to the musical flow and balance of the piece. I like to get into the character of the thing being portrayed. These toy creatures fascinate me. They say a lot about us.

AJLevin_OrangeBear
Orange Bear, ©2001, oil on panel, 10x8” – $1800.

AJLevin_BlueRabbit
Blue Rabbit, ©2003, oil on panel, 10x8” – $1600.

AJLevin_LittleFish
Little Fish, ©2004, oil on panel, 5x7” – $750.

AJLevin_LittleYellowSmile
Little Yellow Smile, ©2004, oil on panel, 7x5” –  $900.

AJLevin_LongEarBunny
Long Ear Bunny, ©2005, oil on panel, 8x10” – $1800.

AJLevin_Aardvark
Aardvark, ©2005, oil on panel, 10x8" – $1800.

AJLevin_BrightRedTongue
Bright Red Tongue, ©2009, oil on panel, 9x12" – $1800.

Between 1998 and 2010, when I did most of the above body of work, I also painted more typical still-life objects, which I approached with the same sense of iconography as I did the stuffed animals. I aim to get into the soul of the thing, and not just the surface. These paintings are mostly about beauty and curiosity and wonder.

On the new website you will find more paintings featuring shells, pods, fruits, veggies, gourds, other small artifacts, as well as those rawhide dog bones I found so interesting for awhile.

AJLevin_RhapsodyRawhide
Rhapsody in Rawhide, ©1999, oil on panel, 8x10” – $1800.

AJLevin_LemonNest
Lemon Nest, ©2001, oil on panel, 8x10” – $1800.

AJLevin_PlumQuintet
Plum Quintet, ©2001, oil on panel, 6x8” – $1400.

AJLevin_PinkStarGreenBone
Pink Star Green Bone, ©2003, oil on panel, 10x10” – $1800.

AJLevin_Jesters
Jesters, ©2005, oil on panel, 8x10” – $1600.

AJLevin_GourdinBlue
Dried-Up Gourd Wrapped in Blue with a Beach Pebble, ©2005, oil on panel, 5x7” – $900.

AJLevin_WaterVessels
Water Vessels, ©2005, oil on panel, 12x9” – $1950.

For the past five years, I have been exploring abstraction. Working this way allows me to try a variety of new approaches to handling paint, and the results can be clearly seen in the backgrounds of many of my stuffed animal portraits. What began simply as studies a few years back, is now growing into an extensive body of work, which will eventually include larger pieces.

My focus with the abstractions has been urban industrial structures, open landscapes, trees and azaleas. I am also exploring painting various states of emotional and physical being. Below are just a few samples. Many more can be found on the new website.

AJLevin_HighwayMesa
Desert Highway (or Highway Mesa), ©2006, oil on canvas, 9x12” – $900.

AJLevin_Evergreen
Evergreen, ©2008, oil on panel, 7x7" – $750.

Take a break and have a bite of this Bento box!

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AJLevin_GreenTangle
Green Tangle, ©2011, oil on panel, 11x14” – $900.

AJLevin_Burning1
Burning #1, ©2010, oil on panel, 12x9” – $900.

AJLevin_Broken
Broken, ©2011, oil on panel, 9x12” – $900.

From my Artist Statement

Painting has always been a means of story-telling about my life, my dreams and visions, and my observations of the world. I process things visually. My natural inclination to allegorical, narrative work has continued to deepen over time. For awhile now, I have been playing with mixed realities, and I seem to be developing a gritty magical realism in some of these pieces. Personal and social issues remain prevalent in my work.

For me, art is thought made visual. The sensual act of painting is one of balancing truly being able to see with giving form to that which is unseen. My easel is my cello, the paintbrush is my bow. The brush strokes are the melody, while the nuances of color are made of individual musical notes. I paint to sing. I paint just to breathe.

All painting images in this diary are ©1999–2011, Alexandria Levin, and are on file with the copyright office at the Library of Congress.

Mmmmm......those art pieces made me hungry!

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Your musical director has it on good authority that this last piece has become a theme for tonight's artist, and I completely agree


Website Launch

Shiny new painting website! This is what I’ve been doing for a good part of the past two months. I wanted a site that was different, and that reflected the way I see things as an artist, while keeping it simple enough so the paintings shine.

Alexandria Levin oil painting website

Special Sale

Here is the link where you will find a first sale offering of my earlier work, as well as a selection of my more current work. Sales pricing for the work on this page is 40–60% lower than regular pricing. If you are interested in owning an affordable oil painting, this is the place.

Alexandria Levin – Special Sale

Note that works are still available from prior Gallery Kos exhibits:
Paintings by David Woodward
Paintings by boran2

Welcome and please enjoy!

Originally posted to Gallery Kos on Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 05:01 PM PST.

Also republished by Kos Katalogue and DKOMA.

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