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Alexander May
in collaboration with Jess Arndt
Dec 12, 2015 - Feb 6, 2016

LAXART is pleased to present an exhibition of New York based artist Alexander May.
Working across painting, sculpture, installation, and performance, Alexander May’s newest exhibition, HOLO, takes up the Roman alphabet and the linguistic codes it produces as its material predicament and process.

Derived from May’s frustration with the written word, the work—gathered around a new, large-scale interactive sound sculpture—moves the alphabet into an auditory exercise. Flooding the main gallery floor, the Alfebetik Organ, or “communication office,” is a physical diagram (comprised of speakers, amps, cylinders, and cords) that maps language via human activation. Here, twenty-six lettered pedals have been intuitively paired with unique tones produced via glass harp. When pressed by knees, palms, or feet, the pedals compose live-feeds of “alphabetic content” that is recorded with and against the space, the player, and bodies that receive it.

Throughout the show’s run, musicians, writers, and visual artists will be invited to play the organ (including two performances by May), improvising with the installation as a way to generate new phonic linguistic scripts. Writer Jess Arndt intervenes on these raw sequences as the piece evolves, creating an open channel of communication or miscommunication, hearing and mishearing, spelling and un-spelling, and unspooling for the exhibition’s duration. Arndt’s intervention poses the question: does a holo-alphabetic sentence ever really end?

Also included in this exhibition are a series of paintings with vast surfaces of alkyd resin aluminum paint applied to industrial rubber panels. Painted through additive techniques that approximate printmaking, their surfaces retain the scratching, touch, scuffs, and wear and tear of studio life, imparting an almost lunar immediacy.

Alexander May was born in 1983 and lives and works in New York City. He holds an MFA in Sculpture from Bard College and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Solo exhibitions include The National exemplar, New York; Balice Hertling, Paris; R space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and LAX><ART, Los Angeles.

Jess Arndt, 1978, is a fiction writer whose work sometimes remolds into poetic essays, rants, or participation- based salons. Her action text “Collective Body Possum” toured with The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual world circuit, 2014 and her story collection, “Large Animals,” is coming out from Catapult Press in 2016. 


Press Coverage | download all Press (.zip file)