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Alex Liros' Canadian art odyssey began in Ottawa, Ontario, forty years ago when he first attended the Ottawa Municipal Art Centre, a hands-on school where he took classes in drawing, painting and sculpture. He also took anatomy at the university level. In 1978 he ended up in Toronto, where his mother and her husband were living. Toronto had a very lively art scene, as well as an active, though beleaguered, gay community, which was encouraged by the gains of the feminist and civil rights movements. In 1980 Alex and two artists organized a collective, called JAC, with the idea of "documenting" the picnics, beaches, dances, rallies of the gay community. JAC was very active for eight years, showed widely and received grants to show their work and demonstrate their collaborative method. They were multi-media artists, worked on paper, on canvas, produced banners and installations. It was a creative period for Alex.

And it was at a JAC opening in Chicago that Alex met an artist who would become his life partner. They also began to work collaboratively (wood, steel, paint), but also had several two-man shows of their independent work. At this time Alex was painting on canvas and working on wood constructions, based loosely on the biblical King Saul. In the 1990s he began to observe, in paint and mixed media on paper, objects in his studio: chairs, pots, TV, flowers. And he began to look outside the studio and started cycling to the north shore of Lake Ontario to paint, on small primed boards, everything around him: beaches, water, surfers, picnics, trees, cars. And when he would visit his brother Serge in Sargentville, Maine, he would get some watercolours out and paint the view. By the late 1990s he put aside his acrylics and started to work on photo-based images pulled from the web. His interest was men and technology, and his method was pen and ink with collage. His last show, Pipelines 2, was at Gallery 1313 (an artist run gallery) in June 2013.

Toronto, June 2014

 

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