The botanical study, the flower still life, the pastoral and floral have all been staples of our collective unconscious and our daily visual vernacular. From cave paintings and children’s drawings to Vermeer, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, Joan Mitchell, Paul Klee, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol and Picasso and anyone who has ever doodled a flower, the ‘Floral’ has been part of our lives eternally.
Alex Echo has created hundreds of drawings, watercolours and gouache paintings ~ acrylics and oils over the past four decades, always pushing the boundaries of his craft, continually searching for a new language from which to communicate his love of this earth and of nature. Now at a time when the world must fall in love with nature again, Alex has reignited his passion for earth and for painting flowers and is Re-imagining the floral genre. “ By serendipity and chance one cold autumn night, I was searching for a documentary to watch. I stumbled upon a film by one of my favourite directors, Wim Wenders about a photographer I knew very little about ~ Sabastiao Salgado, titled ‘The Salt of The Earth’... I was so inspired by this mans work as a photographer, and later in his life as a conservationist and environmentalist that the very next morning I began painting with total abandon Earth-centric florals. I began throwing paint around with total ease and joy!”
Sabastiao Salgado after a lifetime of documenting mans struggle against nature and humanity, fell “soul sick” and retreated back to his roots in Brazil and returned to his family home in the rainforest. Sebastiao’s family ranch had been decimated by drought and cattle grazing leaving it barren and unusable ~ His wife suggested the impossible “ Replant the Forest ” .... They did !
These new paintings by Alex Echo explore and exalt in the chaos and joy, the wonder and spectacle of nature, of flowers, and of earth our only home. Drawing on his many decades of painting experience and finding new ways to include several of his techniques he has burst upon a new floral language. A riot of colour and an uproar of pattern inform these paintings,
“ A happiness and lust for life is revealed in these paintings...” “ I find total joy and freedom while painting these works. I feel I can at last speak of my hopes for my children and humanity and life itself with these paintings... It’s a visual language I’ve been searching for...” “ I hope people can fall into these paintings and roll around in them. Look up at the blue sky through them. Smell the spring and summer breeze with them. Recall how sweet life can be seeing them – And remember how important earth is to us all... ”
“ These new paintings are dedicated to and inspired by Sabastiao and Lelia Salgado, to Greenpeace, to conservationists, environmentalists, educators, dreamers ~ and to the countless gardeners in the world whether they tend house plants, back yard gardens or forests...”
Alex Echo 2016