Alex Paik creates fugue-like works that explore ephemerality, repetition, and visual counterpoint—an extension of his interest in polyphonic musical structures. Childhood training in classical music guides his artistic practice. The alluring structure of music is interpreted into visual means via cut and folded hand-colored paper formed into repeated geometric shapes or “units” hinged together to hang in much larger “configurations”. Often covering an entire wall, Paik’s largescale Modular Wall Installations appear simultaneously tightly composed and, upon closer inspection, loosely improvised. Overlapping layers of hinged units gracefully hide the labor behind the work with an appearance of airy elegance.
Geometry is Paik’s way of giving structure to color, while repetition allows a deeper development of the relationship between units. Repeated shapes provide an architectural scaffold for color relationships to emerge. Each installation is improvised onsite according to the size of the wall furthering the ephemeral and temporal quality of the work. His work is constructed and “composed” in such a way as to feel like it just appeared, almost out of thin air, and could just as quickly disappear.
Paik is not interested in making innovations to an existing visual style. Instead, he has set about creating his own visual language, inspired more by Johann Sebastian Bach and Isaac Newton than visual artists. If one had to couch his work in art history, it could be aligned with the geometry and installation of Sol Le Witt and Jennifer Bartlett. Paik is dancing to the beat of his own drum, as they say, and is revered for it.
Paik’s work has been exhibited nationally in galleries including Parallel Art Space, Trestle Gallery, Nancy Margolis, and Camel Art Space (all NYC), Gallery Joe (Philadelphia), Guest Spot (Baltimore), and Jaus (Los Angeles). Largescale installations have been exhibited at art fairs including the Terrain Biennial (Chicago), and Art on Paper (New York). Paik has been interviewed for Brooklyn Magazine, Maake Magazine and ArteFuse, and his artwork has been reviewed by the New Criterion, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh City Paper, and Arts in Bushwick; his work has twice been deemed the “best art exhibit” by Brooklyn Magazine. Paik is represented by Gallery Joe (Philadelphia) and is the director of Tiger Strikes Asteroid, a non-profit network of artist-run spaces with locations in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Paik is also the director of the annual Satellite Art Show in Miami.
Portraits courtesy of Jen Maler: www.jenmaler.com