Michael Jackson by Alex Guofeng Cao
Alex Guofeng Cao connects the circuits of historical meaning by breaking down famous works into a grid of thousands of copies of a smaller, related images.Cao takes this a step farther, replacing some of the thousands of embedded images in each work with other pictures (requiring closer investigation in order to find them), casting deeper reflection on the historical or cultural field of meaning already generated by the two primary interwoven images.
Michael Jackson by Alex Guofeng Cao with Marilyn detail from “Legends” Series
Artist Alex Guofeng Cao’s innovative mosaic-styled art works are resonating on a global scale. Inspired by such masters as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Edward Weston, and Robert Mapplethorpe, Cao’s career as an artist has seen him study and experiment with a variety of photographic methods and techniques.Of late his photographic creativity has leaned towards large-scale monochromatic digital works, namely a series called “Legend.” Explaining the cryptic imagery, Cao reveals, “I’m fascinated by icons and celebrity. I have worked with many from Lindsay Lohan to Tommy Lee Jones, they shared a common musicality that translates internationally.”
The “Legend” series sees a melding of two contrasting artistic techniques. Images of pop culture icons, Andy Warhol, Pam Anderson, Marilyn Monroe, Lady Di, are reinvented and reinterpreted care of Cao’s dexterous hand and creative vision.Technically, Cao says that despite his fascination with the digital medium, monochrome tradition is something he still romanticizes, “The subtle gradations of tone between deep black and stark white are the generators for all the colors I need to create my world.”
Alex Guofeng Cao came to New York searching for his pursuit, came upon photography, which easily became his passion. Inspired by such masters as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Edward Weston, and Robert Mapplethorpe, Cao ceaselessly studied and experimented with all methods and techniques in photography. While adept with color, Cao’s preferred medium is the black and white image. Cao’s deep fascination with the subtle gradations of tone between the deep black and the stark white are the generators for all the colors he needs to create his world.
The most recent body of work by Alex Guofeng Cao is a series of images of popular culture icons. At a glance almost anyone can identify some if not all of the characters in the menagerie of stars. But, upon closer inspection, one can see that these stars are composed of a constellation of tiny repetitive images each slightly differing from its neighbors. The arrays of miniscule visages that compose and conspire to form the larger portraits are iconic images themselves. The plot thickens as one realizes that there is a play, a dialogue between the chosen characters that inhabit each other.