Alexis Soul-Gray (b.1980, United Kingdom) lives and works in Devon, UK. Her practice - predominantly of painting, drawing and printmaking - revolves around a speculative questioning of the memorial, nostalgia and commemoration, which brings together a conjecture of imagery taken from public archival materials.
Appropriation and detournement of paper ephemera and found objects are central to Soul-Gray’s process, becoming reference materials that are first gathered and then – gently, or at times forcefully - unmade, defaced, recreated. The artworks that emerge are a manifestation of a shattering personal trauma, but also an attempt to speak of the universal experience of loss and nostalgic longing.
Specific to the artist’s unique style is a varying visual vocabulary across her oeuvre, as each artwork is partly conditioned by the found material(s) employed as a starting point, and the subjective, emotional element conjured during its development. Both the conscious and the subconscious are present, and memory, with its many facets, an active participant.
In Soul Gray’s own words:
There are multiple voices and modes of working within my practice, each one as necessary as the next. Like structural pillars that underpin a bridge, without them the creative journey cannot be made. My works may read as being made by a different artist, perhaps muddled and disjointed but this is deliberate. They are a direct manifestation of a shattering and destructive personal trauma, creating a lexicon of possibilities that attempt to speak of the universal experience of loss, the fragmented, broken recall of memory that trauma induces.
I use appropriation, detournement and the reordering of paper ephemera and found objects to explore the fluid nature of recall, allowing intuition to lead the work through various states of exploration until reaching a final resting place. Images are continuously intersecting, abrasive, harmonious, removed. The saccharin and the abject sit in a purposefully contradictory language.
Soul-Gray will graduate from the prestigious MA Painting programme at the world-leading Royal College of Art, London, in 2022. She holds an MA from the Royal Drawing School, London (2007) and a BA from the Camberwell College of Art, London (2003). She was the overall winner of the Delphian Open in 2021, and recipient of The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2021 and 2022. She was invited for an important residency at The Artist House Kadenowka, Rabka, Poland (Studio Paulina Olowska) in the summer of 2022. Soul-Gray’s work is in collections across the world.