Alex Pollard creates paintings and installations that focus upon the political dynamics of contemporary culture. His work deals with the figure of the artist within a hyper-connected digital society and with the impact of today’s information economy on art and artists.
Agassi Abstracts (2012) are a series of digital paintings based on the graphic design of tennis player Andre Agassi’s T-shirts from the 1990s. They are loaded with retro references – presenting an over-the-top example of ‘bad boy’ grunge or ‘rebel’ street styling. They also sardonically adopt the ‘cool yet slightly punk’ vibe of recent contemporary painting, which seems to play into a celebration of the artist as punk rock-star. Pollard draws attention to the self-conscious construction of the ‘counter-cultural rebel’. This work critically reflects on how our digital information economy uses niche material – information and references now having a value as commodities in themselves.
Rumours, like Internet ‘memes’ are copied, shared and distorted making chatter, gossip and communication an important and highly political part of our current conditions both inside and outside of the art world. Rumorz Kitten-Heel Boots (2012) are suede boots featuring a repeated print of the logo of forgotten US girl-band Rumorz. The band flopped in the 1990s because their sound and styling was ‘too 1980s’. As a reference Rumorz are interesting in a fine art context for their lack of counter-cultural credibility, but they are at present not a piece of information worth trading. In Doormats (2012) Pollard asked art-world contacts, including fellow artists, curators, tutors and his students, to draw caricatures of him, which were subsequently printed onto mats. The awkward power relations within this social network are made tangible. Doormats are a form of collaboration achieved through charm or obligation, folding the immaterial and emotional labour of the art business into the work itself.