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Alexis Rago uses clay as his primary means of expression at the extreme of its possibilities.

The fragile and intricate sculptures addressing issues of balance and symmetry, are designed to invite close scrutiny. I wish to draw viewers into a live negotiation with the precariousness of the forms as a preface to other conversations.

This intention is cogently described in Simon Olding's article in Resurgence and Ecologist magazine, The Dance of Clay,

Spot-lit in a darkened gallery, the intensity of this exhibition [Chaos Contained] makes each visitor walk with an especial care around the objects. You have to take an emphatic stance, a ritual movement of care, first to defend yourself against prospective damage to such delicate, spindly outcrops of clay, but also to make a kind of formal, measured progress. We dance through the show.

Having previously worked primarily in two dimensions, 2007 marks a point of critical transition during which Alexis moved to a three-dimensional articulation of ideas informed by a wide range of sources and influences.

I explore the boundaries between fine art and craft in the context of other binary relationships such as religion and science, the contemporary and the traditional, the one and the many.

He writes about this ecclecticism in Collections and the Sacred space published in Millpond for 'Curated Bookshelf' a project by curator Elizabeth Holdsworth.

His current body of work arose out of an intensive period of research which is now curated by the National Centre for Craft and Design as the touring exhibition Chaos Contained. He had experimented with the incorporation of sound within vase-like structures and successfully created and exhibited performing video and sound works which were elaborated during a residency at Nottingham Trent University. These developments led him to the threshold of incorporating sound emission into the sculptural objects with evocative digital sound tracks imbedded literally into the fabric of a large scale installation creating an immersive experience.

…however I may experiment, I always return to the authentic self embedded in the wet dust in which we are rooted.

Alexis is interested in clay's ancient relationship with humakind and its inherent potential for taking on form and meaning.

I see us as having a deep connection with this [ceramics] technology. Each time we cup our hands we make a vessel. This is an action which has been transferred and replicated in clay from the very beginnings of humankind to this day.

Simon Olding in conclusion to his essay in the book Alexis Rago: Chaos Contained sums up Alexis' work as follows:

Chaos Contained calls to mind aeons of time; imagined places of worship and the very first steps of humanity; and a sophisticated, human, watchfulness.

Alexis originally studied biology at Manchester University before attending the Institute for Art and Restoration in Florence where he won the drawing prize. He has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad. Alexis was elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 2009. His studio is located in a Methodist chapel in rural England.

ALEXIS

RAGO