Alexandrya Eaton

Exhibition

Becoming

Jul 10 - Oct 7, 2018

Girl Gang
  • Girl Gang
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • 76 cm × 76 cm
  • Beaverbrook Art Gallery
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick

"Eaton and her dog Elvis lead me to a small room near the kitchen where a jubilant heap of yarn towers over a stack of burlap squares. On the squares, Eaton has sketched her designs for the rugs. These designs tell the story of her grandmother through images and text. Like her 'Busy Woman' series, Eaton's rugs celebrate the strength of women using simplified contours, intensely saturated colours, and energetic compositions. Eaton's insistent theme of a buyoant life force represented through flowers and feminine identity re-emerges in the hooked rugs that are piling up between sheets of protective paper. Eaton's project is very close to her heart. Her designs are distilled by writing and drawing about her grandmother's life." ~ Christina Thomson, curator

Wonder Woman
  • Wonder Woman
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • 76 cm × 76 cm

"The thirty paintings and hooked rugs in Alexandrya Eaton’s exhibition, Becoming, hang in a grid on either side of a central corridor of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Bright colours, simplified female figures, and flowers are repeated along with texts that hint at character and narrative: she danced, she loved, she had a courageous heart, she felt sorrow. Visitors might be moved to ask: 'Who is this mysterious woman and what was her life like?' The artist has subverted the vibrant palette and language of the sixties and used them with sincerity to evoke a particular character and personality. It is as if the Pop Art movement had started in Maritime kitchens and living rooms instead of New York lofts (with rug hooking taking the place of silk screening) and drew inspiration from strong women and mothers rather than pop culture and its stars.

In fact, Eaton found her inspiration in memories of her own grandmother and these words by Simone de Beauvoir: 'One is not born, but becomes, a woman.' It is fitting that the work is installed in a passageway, that we walk from one end to the other as if through life and yet experience all the images at once, much like memories. Sometimes the figures multiply like cookie cutter shapes, leading one to think of kitchen scenes, paper dolls, suburbia, and its implied capitalism. The repetition of miniskirts and business suits reflect a feminism in transition. The flowers and rug hooking allude to quiet domestic spaces, which are then contrasted with brash bold images of women dancing. As in every life story, there is pain and darkness, but bold confident colour, strength, courage and humour prevail here. Eaton’s series shows us a woman who is always changing and evolving in the face of sorrow and joy, but whose character remains constant, authentic, and inspirational."

Jon Claytor for Akimbo

'BECOMING' installation, Beaverbrook Art Gallery
'BECOMING' installation, Beaverbrook Art Gallery
'BECOMING' installation, Beaverbrook Art Gallery
'BECOMING' installation, Beaverbrook Art Gallery

"Women and flowers thrive in Alexandrya Eaton's paintings. For over 25 years, this Sackville-based artist has worked with vibrant imagery that brings her both joy and strength while expressing feminine power. Her work addresses cultural and personal experiences of gender identity and gender expression. Becoming references Simone de Beauvoir's statement that 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.' Eaton's work explores the phases of womanhood as shaped by cultural pressures and personal choices through the story of her late grandmother, with whom she was very close. Eaton chose the soft and sturdy traditional medium of rug hooking for the portrayal of her role model, and relished the slow and gentle transformation of memories into images. She creates iconic Pop-art figures that actively move through fear and sorrow with resilient courage and love. Her paintings and rugs are a memorial, yet also provide motivation to embody qualities that lead to fulfillment and strive for transcendance."

~ Christina Thomson, curator

'BECOMING' installation, Beaverbrook Art Gallery
'BECOMING' installation, Beaverbrook Art Gallery