Welcome to my site. I am Alx, I go by Alex Bal or Alexandra Bal depending on the social setting. This site documents my creative image making and my intellectual explorations.
My research interests are quite varied. I have been studying the use of digital technology by youth for over 10 years. One thing has become very evident to me, these digital learners, now entering young adulthood, have drastically different learning needs then analog kids. You can find out more about my educational research here.
As I age, the senses have become of great interest. I became an aromatherapist as a result of my fascination with smells. I have become very interested in our relationship to the senses, you can find out more about this here. Our senses are key to developing empathy towards ourselves and the world around us. They are the non verbal communication tools of our body and space. They are what unite us to the earth and its eco-systems. We are increasingly becoming sensory illiterate at a time when we desperately need to relearn to be human, within our bodies and able to listen to the sentient life that surrounds us. The life that exist in animals, plants and the elements.
I have been making digital images for the last 30 years. There is a common theme to all my work. I explore the spirit in abstraction. Spirit as essence. Essence of place, of soul, of digital. I am a big fan of Hilma af Klint. For the e-motions and imprint series, I used a similar method. She created experimental automatic drawing as early as 1896. Like her, I use photoshop filters in specific sequences to make invisible patterns within the images emerge. I consider these to be the “essence” or spirit of the digital image.
Since I am interested in spirits, I explore the worlds of culture, religions, atoms, the senses and plants. Unlike Klint, I do not conjure spirits or have seances. I am trying to reintroduce sentience in my understanding of the world.
Lately, I have been thinking about my artworks as land portraits. Since we began making art, we have made portraits of those who were important to us. Portraiture is a great example of how western culture has forgotten how to co-exist with the natural world. When I observe portraiture throughout western history, I can see that we have moved from capturing images of what we cared about in the land, (such as cave painting of hunts), to spirits we worshiped that were separate from the lands (such as gods, political figures and movie stars). We make portraits of our families, and ourselves, but rarely do we acknowledge that we are part of a bigger sentient eco-system.
I hope you enjoy the work posted, it just follows my wondering mind in all kind of conceptual spaces. Contact me at alxbal203.at.gmail.com, if you have questions or want to chat about the work.