Where When How — May/June 2017
Change Language:
Island Perspectives Artist Alexandra Brace
Sophie Newstead


The world in front of us is made up of a flurry of light waves, sound waves and gases, many of which we can’t see or hear. Our human senses, contrary to some assumptions, are incredibly limited in their range. Our perception is only able to detect a tiny portion of the world’s light and sound spectrum, with infrared and ultraviolet light we can’t see, sound frequencies we cannot hear, and atmospheric changes we can’t feel. But what if we could see more?

Aside from high-tech gadgets, there’s little that brings the ‘unseen’ world into the seen, especially in an aesthetic way. Technology can detect its existence but only art or another creative medium, can bring to life its true scale and beauty. Alexandra Brace, an artist who channels her fascination with light, sound and the atmosphere into striking paintings, is the patron behind such a science. “my work is about experiencing and finding different ways of seeing, and using the atmosphere and light moving over surface and colour, to highlight the relationship between the physical and the unseen.” Alexandra uses multiple layers of paint, morphing shapes and striking colours to pin down a fascinating metaphysical concept, “…symbolically, how we perceive everything is based on the light: our focus, position, perspective, allowing us to see areas clearly and have things revealed to us or veiled from us. I think we’re all hard wired with a curiosity to see more, to look deeper and discover the unknown connections and patterns between the world in which we live and our place in it.”

While in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Alexandra draws on a wealth of inspiration to reinforce her use of vivid colours and multiple perspectives. “There’s a peace and fulfilment in being immersed in nature. I’ve been in love with the beauty of the islands since I first visited as a child. The multi-sensory experience made a big impact on me: the vivid, colourful changing skies, the light, the smell of the sea and wind, horizon, and the vastness and depth of the sea. Encountering sea life also inspired my use of more fluorescent tones and bolder, brighter colours… The TCI overflows into my work on so many levels. There’s a timelessness but also a sense of adventure here, it made me want to explore different ways of expressing layers, texture and atmosphere.”

With an astute approach to seeing the world and eyes set firmly on expanding her commercial portfolio, Alexandra outlines her favourite commission to date. “In 2016 I had a wonderful commission which was a large painting inspired by the island, with sunset and sunrise colours and in my own abstracted landscape style. It included the client’s house in Thompson Cove and was one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever done, but I loved it. I find the most enjoyable commissions are the ones that have guidelines but ultimately allow you to paint in your own style with creative freedom.” The traits Alexandra adheres to mastering her craft, underline a creative process now indispensable to her life. “Love, perseverance, and patience. The creative process and creating a body of work takes time, you need to allow yourself to enjoy your creative process and play. You have to separate your worries about success and career from the process of making. You may be advised to keep doing one specific thing if it ‘works’, but that’s not necessarily the way forward as you need to keep that edge of fresh inspiration. If there’s one thing I wish I’d known at the start of my career, it would be to follow your gut instinct and intuitively your own creative process will stretch you to produce your best art.”

With a distinct concept and solid body of work under her belt, discussion turns to exciting projects for the future...“I’ll be back in the TCI later in the year working on various projects, including making work that can be potentially used for future developments on the island. I’d love to have my work in multiple venues also, such as hotels, condos, restaurants, and will continue to take on commissions. As far as developing techniques, it will focus on making the work more multidimensional, using the effects of light and different elements. Ultraviolet and glow in the dark pigments, as well as other materials which are reactive to light, water, temperature and atmospheric changes. Backlighting, reflections, projections of light…possibilities are endless!” Alexandra by using paintings (soon to be multi-sensory art) to depict phenomena usually confined to the pages of science journals, blurs the lines between art and physics, and in turn, harnesses the exciting signs of a new art form… and new perspective.

Alexandra Brace: Artist

Website: www.alexandrabrace.com

Facebook: Alexandra Brace, artist

Instagram: @alexbrace_artist