Alex Fischer (b. 1986, Canada; lives and works in Toronto) creates prints and paintings with the assistance of artificial intelligence. Inspired by process-based image makers and new realist philosophies Fischer considers the image as a potential bridge between ideas, peoples, and cultures. His chosen approach of assisted collage serves as media melting pot for the practice of Artography: a hybrid form of action research creating its rigour through continuous reflexivity (taking account of itself), discourse analysis, and hermeneutic inquiry (concerning interpretation). Essentially, Fischer makes images that encourage the viewer to consider false dichotomies and spectrums of possibility.
Fischer graduated from York University in 2010 with a BFA Honours in Visual Art. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at O'Born Contemporary, Toronto (2009-2015) and Galerie BAC, Montreal (2014). In 2016 his painting 'Pet, Casper, and Hesperie' was shortlisted in the national RBC Painting Competition and many works are featured in noted private and corporate collections.
Smarter Todayby Rachel Anne Farquharson. January 13. Web.
aesthetics AI Diana Al-Hadid Jaime Angelopoulos anthropic principle architecture Artography ASI assemblage atemporal Tauba Auerbach Melanie Authier authority awesome immersion Barth Baudrillard Amelia Bauer Nadia Belerique Alex Bierk black body Jesse Boles Shary Boyle Sascha Braunig Michel De Broin Laura Brothers Matthew Brown Marianne Burlew Judith Butler Sarah Cale Robert Canali capitalism Arturo Castro chance chaos Ian Cheng cinema Joshua Citarella clone Amanda Clyne collage Miles Collyer commodity communications consciousness construct consumption context Petra Cortright crime fiction Sterling Crispin critical theory Liam Crockard Adam Cruces cultural studies culture Robyn Cumming Sara Cwynar Cyberbalkanization cyberspace cyborg dada daesin Robert Davidovitz Jason Deary Baptiste Debombourg decentring Deleuze Nicholas DeMarco Derrida desire Georgia Dickie difference differend digital discontinuity discourse earnestness Jessica Eaton ecological perspective Leanne Eisen Elicser enlightenment ethics ethnicity evasive maneuvers Scott Everingham existentialism expanded painting fashion feminism Brendan Fernandes Adam Ferriss film studies flesh Nika Fontaine Cam Forbes Foucault fragment Freud genre Ian Gerson Sky Glabush globalization Steven Goetz Francisco-Fernando Granados grand narratives Eliza Griffiths Guattari Joe Hamilton Lewis Hammond Harari Harris Hassan Hegel hegemony Heidegger hermeneutic circles Colleen Heslin Dil Hildebrand Layne Hinton history holistic integration Thrush Holmes Tilman Hornig humanism Brian Hunter Hanna Hur Husserl Lili Huston-Herterich hybridity hyperreality identity inclusive indeterminacy individual interdisciplinary imagination interpretation intersubjectivity irony Jay Isaac James Jean Rachel De Joode jouissance Jamian Juliano-Villani Felix Kalmenson Lauire Kang Kant Melike Kara Matt Keegan Jason Khan Kierkegaard Alex Kisilevich Tarik Kiswanson knowledge Brendan George Ko Karen Kraven Lacan language Oliver Laric Rick Leong Derek Liddington logocentrism Erin Loree Paul Luziano Katie Lyle Matt Macintosh Marx Alexandra Majerus Vanessa Maltese Jen Mann Isabel Martinez Edith Maybin Scott Mcfarland Abby Mcguane Alex Mcleod McLuhan Kate McQuillen meaning mediation meditation Merleau-Ponty meta-narrative metacognition metonymy metropolis mimesis modernism John Monteith moral courage Kristine Moran Jenny Morgan Keita Morimoto morphological analysis Faye Mullen Brenna Murphy Andrea Nacciarriti narrative nature neurosis new media Nietzsche nihilism Katja Novitskova Rafael Benjamin Ochoa Anders Oinonen origin/copy Athena Papadopoulos parody pattern Oliver Pauk Lauren Pelc-McArthur performance philosophy play polycultural post-colonialism post-digital poststructuralism power Zeesy Powers practice production psychic masochism Nicholas Pye Nathalie Quagliotto queer theory radical democracy rationality Real realism reason reference Susana Reisman relativism representation resolution responsive compassion rhizome Jeanie Riddle Brian Rideout Tabor Robak Genevieve Robertson Noel Rodo-Vankeulen Tony Romano romanticism Jillian Kay Ross Rachel Rossin Caitlin Rueter Andrew Rutherdale sampling Sartre Saussure Jasper Savage Callen Schaub Claire Scherzinger Jenn Sciarrino schizoanalysis Lina Scheynius Callum Schuster science self-reflexivity semiotic communication semiotics sexuality Claire Sherman signification silence Avery Singer simulation Candaş Şişman Justine Skahan Margaux Smith sociology Soft Turns solipsism sorge ME Sparks Jasper Spicero spiritual emergence Matthew Stone Tim Stoner structuralism Beth Stuart style subjectivity surface/depth synchronistic syncretism technology television Angela Teng Jessica Thalmann theatre theology geetha thurairajah Stanzie Tooth tradition Brad Troemel Winnie Truong truth Brian Ulrich unconscious Sandra Vaka Julia Vandepolder versions Michael Vickers Artie Vierkant virtuality Tobias Williams Wittgenstein Margo Wolowiec Qiu Yang Žižek Elizabeth Zvonar
A heartfelt thank you to those who have helped make this possible: family, friends, techs and fabricators, as well as the generous patronage of BNY Mellon, Donald O'Born, Eqitable Bank, Leith Wheeler, Shrigley Battrick, Statoil, TD Bank Group, and the‥
This website is an index of Alex Fischer's art practice. Most things seen here also exist as either a print or as a object. You can find information about available works on Artsy.net or email for more information.
One must feed on the roses of illusion, then the absurd mind, rather than resigning to falsehood.
I can understand only in human terms. What I touch, what resists me – that is what I understand. And these two certainties – my appetite for the absolute and for unity and the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle – I also know that I cannot reconcile them.
All I can do is reply on my own behalf, realizing that what I say is relative. Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful. An analysis of the idea of revolt could help us to discover ideas capable of restoring a relative meaning to existence, although a meaning that would always be in danger.
This exhibition brings together four artists who are thinking about origins, process, materials, and labour as they explore the possibilities and implications of working digitally.
At the heart of Trace • Copy • Render is a shared interest in revealing, hiding, and playing with digital and material processes and manipulations, and the coincidence or disconnect (as the case may be) between final output and the myriad steps involved in the process of its realization.
Alex Fischer is an artist whose practice deliberately blurs and confounds the borders between media, and constitutes digital-image making as an extension of traditional artistic media and concerns. He uses advanced digital imaging techniques to manipulate found source imagery, to layer and build-up complex new compositions that are often hard to pin down as to medium or process, and which maintain a tension between the physical and the virtual, the original and the copy, the index and the trace.
In a fascinating inversion of his work on the computer, Fischer just as easily jumps out from the digital realm—off the virtual canvas—and performs ‘photoshop' by physically copying, tracing, blending, adding layers and various effects to printed and painted works. Fischer's series of work in Trace • Copy • Render offers a self-reflexive glimpse into his process of creation and concerns and includes paintings, projections, and prints. (more...)
– Claire Sykes, August 2016
On the occasion of Alex Fischer's fourth solo exhibition with O'Born Contemporary, he problematizes the
single image by its very conversion into multiple, nearly identical forms. A digital original is here reproduced as 1 digital print, 7 large oil paintings, and 6000 small acrylic paintings. Through this multi-modal exhibition, Fischer deliberates on the nature of art with its value systems and capitalist patrimony.
Current agricultural trends demonstrate that when tomatoes are grown, the aim is to direct natural processes, taking agency over evolution. Like all biological species, the tomato plant contains a genetic copy of itself inside every cell of its being. Repetition and versioning are as much a rule in agriculture as they are in human life. Conversely,ness and independence of mind are selling points when it comes to art. There is an established value in originality.1
Each of the 7 oil paintings was completed by an equal number of painters working in Xiamen, China. Fischer puts the work of these trained hands in direct visual argument with the mechanically reproduced print: he suggests deliberation about the capitalist mechanism and simultaneously entertains his moral ambiguity within this landscape of unapologetic consumptive socio-culture.
The controversy here may be in the fact that Fischer criticizes the capitalist system by highlighting elements that are uncomfortable to acknowledge while fully engaging with capitalism's ideologies through the kaleidoscope of fine art and its market. He grows the pieces, puts them under optimal lighting, and creates versions at price points to invite the viewer to buy.
An arched shelf bolsters 6000 small sheets of thin, transparent plastic. Hundreds of editions have already been painted, revealing that they exist as an assemblage of tiles that, when properly arranged, mimic their parent image. Fischer will paint the remaining sheets on demand as they are requested and will continue this practice alongside his other projects.
Artwork as a commodity is not valuable per se– its value is the result of an ongoing and never ending social negotiation. That being said, the work of art, and painting specifically, is an object that bears a concrete, almost measurable evidence of labour on its surface.2 Paintings are worked over and leave a trace of the individual mark maker. Each edition in 1, 7, and 6000 shows on its surface the inevitable difference made during translation between parent image and end product. Each image is the real thing.
– Alex Fischer, February 2015
1. This idea is commensurate with remarks issued by Ben Davis: It is the
uniquely middle-class nature of creative labor in the visual arts [that] would seem to explain its alternative emphasis on the individual, that is, on the virtues of personality and small production, as well as a whole host of other stylistic tics and affectations(...) visual art's characteristic questioning or ironic attitude; the value of the artist's signature and the 'artist's statement' that are associated with it. Davis, Ben. 9.5 Theses on Art and Class - Commerce and Consciousness. Chicago:Haymarket Books, 2013. PDF file.
2. Graw, Isabelle. Thinking through Painting - Reflexivity and Agency beyond the Canvas. Sternberg Press, 2012. Page 56.
A digital original is here reproduced as one digital print, seven large oil paintings, and six thousand small acrylic paintings. Each of the seven oil paintings were completed by an equal number of photorealist painters working in Xiamen, China.
The work of art, and painting specifically, is an object that bears a concrete, almost measurable evidence of labour on its surface. Paintings are worked over and leave a trace of the individual mark maker. Each edition in 1, 7, and 6000 shows on its surface the inevitable difference made during translation between parent image and end product. Each image is the real thing.
VII 6000 Arch, 2015
A 82”×48”×40 ” acrylic and aluminium arch bolstering two hundred and forty 6”×4 ” painted sheets.
In Dry Pixels And Wet Molecules Alex Fischer counter-poses the primordial origins of biology against today's dominant technology-based vernacular. In earnest, the artist acknowledges through his practice elements peculiar to the time of his being. Put in alternative terms, Fischer concedes that the acts of being and becoming are wholly different now than at any time in our recent or distant past.
Dry Pixels And Wet Molecules poses a valuable and contemporary question using sensory terms--can the digital reconcile With the physical? The works of art comprising this materially varied exhibition reveal themselves as both answers to and instigators of this question. Through digital manipulations, sculpture, and installation, Fischer convinces his audience that technology is not simply an imbricate to the physical and the palpable but rather supersedes both.
The multi-modal moment in which art-making has found itself produces what could be called
moist media, a curious but worthwhile corollary to the Mcluhan's
cold media of days past. Absorbing this idea, Fischer wedges himself between the dry, cold of the pixel and the wetness of biomolecules. Ultimately suggesting that we are living in a post-digital world, the artist exposes a tactility and precision with his imagery that in effect surpasses the daily surroundings we perceive with our own eyes and bodies.
– Alex Fischer
Artists must take responsibility for representing the time in which they live.
The images of Beyond The Fall come from what has become the predominant first-world interface: The personal computer and internet capable device is now the primary filter by which broad swaths of people interact and know themselves. These technologies have the ability to snake our attentions, beliefs and desires, influencing cognition and our experience of the world.
In order to represent these paradigm shifts, Alex Fischer reifies the low-culture of individualistic habits and persuasions to be in dialogue with the ripe philosophy of high art. His chosen medium of digital collage perfectly compliments his artistic process, by which he paints together images from a collection of digital sources. Each piece concedes to multiple interpretations due to Fischer's choice to obscure the visual space of the image into near abstraction. The narratives encompass characters, scenes, and symbols with all of their ambiguity, insight, and metaphysical baggage on display. The content originates from their adaptations to and the impact of this current age.
– Alex Fischer
Smarter Today offers a human view of futurist landscapes, a view that explores the ideologies and projections of society through the lens of contemporary art.
Alex Fischer composes his figures and landscapes by assembling a variety of visual and conceptual sources. Keeping in mind that ideas of the future are inevitably the fastest to change, Fischer maintains that human nature is a fallible and susceptible state.
Technological advancement and machine generations have vastly outpaced the tradition of the average human life. As a society, we have adapted to accept the pace at which vast differences and contrasts will influence our modes of being. All projections of which are unpredictable beyond our present context. Today more than ever before, we situate ourselves less as individuals and more as the product of multiple networks. While this network theory suggests a node's relationship to other networks is more important than its ownness, we find a backlash of reflection on individual circumstance and identity.
The subjects and characters of Smarter Today are reflections on the syncretism that created them. Their exterior identities have been extricated to include all of their precursors. They are heterogeneous and intermingled with their environments, yet maintain their subjectivity in the face of a post-structuralist world.
– Alex Fischer, September 2010
Archives to come...