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