Alexandra Dillon is a Los Angeles-based surrealist who paints on found objects. Dillon’s talent, canniness and wit is in taking those objects of study and turning them into something contemporary. Dillon takes the old and gives it a enlivening, satirical tweak.
Her portraits on worn paintbrushes are especially charming. Rather than start with a fixed idea for her imaginary people, she just begins to paint. “They show up and tell me who they are,” she says. Working on each piece over the course of several days, she finds the emotion and personality of her characters. The results are beautiful and engaging faces, often reminiscent of Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits or Baroque painting. “I’m influenced by the art of every era”, she says.
Her work on other found objects, such as axes, cleavers and locks, is more provocative. “The portraits on tools are complex,” she says. “They’re about inner motivations, personal relationships and powerful emotions. They are intended to make you think.”
By using discarded brushes and tools, Dillon is adding value to things deemed worthless by others. Dillon gains a feel for the objects which helps develop a narrative and lead how the artwork will turn out. Through use we impart an imprint on our tools, how we hold them, the shapes we make and the pressures we put on the blades and bristles.
I find these quirky works of art funny and engaging, as someone used to anthropomorphising objects, I am very drawn to the artists way of working. If you like this take a look at the works of Finn Stone