Diaz Contemporary is pleased to present Toronto-based artist Alexander Irving’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. For Political Science, Alexander Irving shows a series of new paintings and drawings that mediate reflections on the daily influx of information on political upheaval, global strife, and more mundane aspects of being through a hybridised veil of classic comedy references, disembodied cartoon limbs, idealistic Modern architecture rendered abject, and the iconic language of Cubist painting.
Irving’s canvases combine the iconography of Tex Avery’s Looney Tunes, the gloved hands and paddle-like feet of Disney characters, and painting influences ranging from Phillip Guston to Cubism, presented through a muted palette warmed by Naples yellow, or made chilly with flat blacks and blues to create absorbing panoplies of limbs and facial features flailing through blocky landscapes. This series of paintings create surprising new windows into diurnal metaphysical and sociopolitical concerns.
The first of the two series of Irving’s drawings on display are spare, graphite works, scumbled with eraser and drawn with acuity of line and precision of insight, which conflate classic comedy and cartoon tropes with obfuscated quotes from political figures. A second series features Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes decomposing into shanty-like tarpaper shacks, kept company by the presence of carefully drawn tools of the trade of Buster Keaton and his ilk, such as banana peels and brooms. Where heady Modernism has failed, the fool comes in to use levity to bolster its downfall, murmuring witticisms into the ear of the fallen king.