Alexandria Levin has lived in various places around the country, and now calls Portland home. She is a native of New York City, and went to high school in New Jersey. She moved to Boston on her own at the age of 17, took a year off, and then attended Massachusetts College of Art. She moved briefly to New Mexico, moved back to Boston, and at this time began painting her first real body of work. Alexandria had her first show in her early 20’s. At 27 she moved to San Francisco, graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1989 with honors in painting. She relocated in 1995 to Albuquerque, and this is where she began to teach at art centers. All this time, she continued to exhibit her work, in community art spaces, galleries, and museums.
Her next stop was Philadelphia, and finally Portland. She’s only been here a little over a year, but she’s been busy. Alexandria moved into a shared studio at the Ford Building last October. She participated in the Southeast Art Walk, and began to show in a café, an art supply store, and at Gallery 360 in Vancouver, to get her feet wet in the local scene. She is now one of the new artists at the Rental Sales Gallery at the Portland Art Museum, and is showing some of her slightly older representative work at the Splendorporium. One of her pieces has been chosen for the card for an Artslandia subscription box scheduled for early next year, and two other paintings were recently chosen for Beaverton Wraps.
Alexandria is currently working on landscapes, many with volcanoes in them. One painting is from a dream, the others feature Mount Hood and two of The Three Sisters. There are also new paintings of caged animals. From her artist statement; “The background scenery from years of still-life portraiture have evolved into my most recent body of work. These landscapes are expressive of something deeper going on below the surface; sometimes narrative, often allegorical. Most of these paintings are based on photos I have taken, for use as reference from which to begin. The work soon takes on a life of its own, and I stop looking at the photo. The painting then tells me what it wants me to do. My job is to listen. I enjoy trying new approaches to handling paint, and I work in layers over time, allowing color and texture to bleed through. In my world, the best possible place to be is lost in creative flow.”
Best advice for beginning artists: “Have fun and don’t worry about what people say about your work. All artists go through an awkward stage. In fact, it’s all an awkward stage, balanced with the gaining of skill and vision over time. If you make a bad painting, and I still do on occasion, then remember that a bad painting makes a wonderful surface to work on, and that which lies underneath will only enrich the final painting.”
For this fall’s tour, Alexandria plans to have a cross-section of her work out for viewing, so visitors can see the evolution of her painting over time. There will also be works in different stages of completion. Once or twice a day she is going to present a mini-workshop in drawing, composition and/or creativity, which she will announce on her website in early October at www.alexalev.com.