In a world where most of us can’t go even a few minutes without our phones (just look at people stuck in traffic and the dangerous scrolling they do while driving!), the paintings of Alex Gross offer a poignant reminder of our dependence on technology and the isolation that comes with being “connected” all the time. Much of Gross’s art is filled with melancholy as his contemplative subjects stare into the void or down at their phones (which really is another form of a void, as these black mirrors seem to bring their owners no pleasure).
The result is a beautiful mix of surreal imagery imbued with aching loneliness. The paintings feel modern and current, and Gross’s new show at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery — which runs until March 25th — is one of the artist’s strongest collections to date. I recently had the pleasure to talk to Gross about his new show and the inspiration he found in our every day inability to connect to the people around us.
What were some of your major inspirations for this collection?
Honestly, it’s just the world around me, observing people, particularly in Los Angeles. That’s my biggest inspiration. I have so many paintings with people either engaged with their phones or just not fully present or paying attention. That seems to be a daily reality when I go out. If I go to the supermarket or to a restaurant, that’s what I see everywhere — all the time. I think all of us are just used to it now, but I feel acutely aware, when I go to Whole Foods, of the fact that no one is really paying attention.