Alex Zealand

Alex Zealand, a.k.a lexi on will become an important artist in the DC area. She’s moving in a direction that I find very exciting. She’s working with recycled materials which I think is rather tough to move into a real art form that truly becomes a 3d work of art. Often I’ve looked at recycled materials and thought, huh. That looks like a pile of trash. This is not true for her work. When I take a look at Lexi’s art, I’m pulled away in another dimension of thought left with many questions which often end up in how did she do that, what is it made out of, and why.

Her work does not look like recycled material, and every angle or bend is done with intent. Many times she’ll create the materials herself to produce the work, which I find exciting. I like to envision what artists are doing, possibly because I’m an artist to, I can imagine myself in their shoes. So I picture Lexi in her apartment eating grapes and drinking coffee till she can’t hold it down any more in order to prep these materials. It’s not Dumpster diving, it’s creative material development.

Watch her. Buy her art, and pay attention to where she goes. On amazing patron bought some of her art when Lexi was fresh in town and her work was curated into the U st. show by Mark Waskow. That brought new life and energy to her career to find that sort of acceptance as a new resident in the DC metro area.

While we make a habit of only selecting one work of art to suggest to collectors here are two which differ in both size and composition.

Lexi chooses to back light many of her pieces,  which explains the variation in color.

Alex Zealand Addiction #2

Title: A dream of weight (addiction 2), 2008
#2 and #4 coffee filters, coffee grounds, nylon thread, acrylic medium


Addiction # 3, 2008
#2 and #4 cone filters, coffee grounds, nylon thread

Note: as mentioned above, the color difference is due to a back light which is included with the sculpture, though there may be an extra fee for installation which can be worked out with the artist.

Detail of #3:

Addiction #3 Detail


What interests me most in making art is the transformative process of massing – when an object that we think of as ‘gross trash’ becomes beautiful and even inspiring when multiples are gathered into a new form.

I started working with coffee filters in 2006, after I left one in my studio coffee pot for several weeks. I’d never bothered to keep a coffee filter around before – usually they’re kind of gross and slimy after use, and I’d throw them away immediately, in order to make room for a new one. But this time, when I opened up the coffee pot and found the filter completely dried out – with a high-tide mark from where the grounds had rested, and a brown ring around the lip – the contrast between the paper’s translucency and the dried grounds sparked something in my imagination. Right then, I saw the image of a mass of filters hanging in my huge, opaque window, lit from behind by the day light.

So as always happens at the start of a new piece, I started collecting. I saved every cone filter I used at home, and even got my co-workers to save them from our pot at work – I gathered size 2s and 4s, as well as bleached and unbleached filters, whatever I could find. And after about 6 months and after exploring several unsuccessful forms and constructs – because the tricky part of making my work is figuring out how to actually produce what I’ve imagined – I started sewing the filters together, creating larger and more complex forms. I’ve created three finished pieces so far – a small wall-hanging piece, a set of 3 relatively-spherical objects, and the 5′ wide wall piece, which was created specifically for Artomatic in 2008.

Alex grew up in New England, but after a 10-year post-college stint in NYC – where she started out in theatre design but eventually got her MFA in sculpture – she currently lives in Northern VA, with her husband and young son who both graciously put up with whatever she’s collecting and drying for the next piece. She also works at the Arlington public library.

If you would like to acquire one of Alex’s works, please read about our project and find contact info here:

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