Artist Andy Dixon explores “the psychology of value and exploring the taboo entanglement of fine art and luxury,” within his works. In turn, the artist, who primarily works with paint, creates pieces which are highly relatable; portraying everyone’s natural want for nice things. Whether it’s a still life or, in particular, his paintings of homes in London and Brooklyn, his work offers a peek into living rooms and interiors to die for.
Andy, who is originally from Vancouver, Canada but now works out of Los Angeles, has the ability to make you sigh with envy at the sight of one of his paintings. It’s a trait of the artist’s we picked up on before in his previous series Leisure Studies, showcasing his ability to utilise a colour palette and transform it into a luscious portrayal of activities from polo matches to a game of tennis.
The artist’s recent work, released with a show currently on display at Beers, London titled Alchemy, continues this approach with pink in particular cropping up regularly. Lighter pinks plaster the walls of these painted homes, while the darker hue appears on the fabric of a rug, and in the details, like an invitingly concaved cushion looking ridiculously comfortable on a couch.
It’s these paintings of living rooms — which often feature a painting of his own hanging on the wall — that can peak the interest and gaze of almost anyone because they portray something so commonplace, while simultaneously commenting on the fine art world.
“Art has long had a tumultuous relationship with the matter of its own value,” the gallery, where Alchemy is on display, explains. “Seemingly arbitrary elements can positively or adversely affect the price at which a painting will sell. Take colour, for instance — paintings prominently featuring the colour red, for example, sell for a higher price point, due to it being a lucky colour in the Asian market.”
With this in mind, Alchemy as a series responds to this tendency of the art world, from the point of view of an artist in it too: “Dixon plays with this discussion and subverts it somewhat, asking the question: ‘what is the value of a painting of a valuable object?’”, particularly in the artist’s depiction of his own paintings in homes, “adding to a lineage of artist studio paintings". Additionally where the artist has painted objects of wealth, “Versace jackets, silk shirts, Jeff Koons tote bags,” for instance, he cleverly “points to his own paintings as the commodity," explains the gallery. "In doing so, he knowingly eschews the creative aspects of his paintings for the commercial ones.”
The exhibition and series’ title also reflects Andy’s conceptual route, referencing “the traditional pursuit of turning a base metal into gold,” continues the gallery. “And this is what Dixon manages to do so masterfully; he takes images which are so ubiquitous in Western art and, through his own kind of magic, creates something wholly new and desirable out of them.”
Catch Alchemy while it’s still on display until 17 November 2018.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.