Alex Sewell is an oil painter whose work is characterized by his realistic and playful painting
style. Sewell’s work looks at youth and popular culture sourced from his own memories and
personal experiences, playing with semiotics and perceptions of visual language. His
compositions utilize specific objects and images as symbols for exploring constructions of
identity and associations of memory and emotion with the subjects presented. While deeply
specific to his own personal narrative and life, Sewell’s paintings manage to impart an
affective nostalgia through their manipulation of subject matter, which, paired with his almost
trompe l’oeil treatment of paint, allows for multiple realities and stories to be read.
The content of the paintings moves through autobiographical territory that bears the stamp of
a suburban upbringing, while their compositions favor framing devices that give a theatrical
feel to the enclosed scenes. The works invite rebus-like readings, as Sewell encodes the
narratives of his childhood and adolescence in complex layers of signs, mark-making, and
more straightforward representation. While there are tinges of suburban gothic à la David
Lynch, the overall theme that theworks convey is loneliness, as we seldom see human
connection. More often, isolated figures must negotiate some actual or metaphorical