Canadian artist Vikky Alexander is a master of reappropriation, coming up as she did alongside Richard Prince and Barbara Kruger, her contemporaries in the Pictures Generation, in 1980s New York. She forged a career for herself by manipulating, recycling and recontextualising snippets of imagery from fashion editorials, advertisements and magazine spreads, patchworking fragments of capitalist and consumerist discourse to create new, and satisfyingly subjective, editorial messages.
These methods are perhaps never more pleasing to the eye than in Between Living and Dreaming, which series was originally created in the 1980s. In it, Alexander employs mirrors, murals, postcards and snapshots from films and photographs to simulate the aspirational scenes we are taught to long for – palm trees and hazy sunsets overlaid with romantic embraces.
For Alexander, however, such scenes of seduction are underpinned by a disruptive spirit. What is it you desire here, she seems to prompt her viewer to ask, and why? While such provocation is vital to remaining informed about how capitalism operates, who can resist an elysian landscape? The series, which is on display at Toronto’s Cooper Cole Gallery until April, serves as welcome relief from winter’s dreary onslaught – prime Monday viewing indeed.