Larger Than Life
Full of life and imagination, artist Lix North has a unique way to see the world. Her characters are playful, dramatic, liberated from constraints, and atemporal. With a focus on portraits and self-portraits, her surreal oil paintings show concentration and attention to detail.
In my oil work, I champion detail as a way to elevate the subject to a larger-than-life level of illusion. The goal is to build on the inherent visual fascination that comes with intense detail as a way to open the door to the conceptual messages in my work.
Lix North likes to plan her works in detail: concepts, notes, lists, props, poses, palette choices. Nothing is too much to distill a concept and create a piece that reveals something meaningful, powerful, and personal at the same time. The pivotal work of her artistic journey, Insurgent (2016), reflects her artistic statement and remains her most intimate work.
Painting is at its best for me when it feels like mediation – the quiet manifestation of a complex dream to a simple reality. You could say I flow with all the crazy development and planning, ebb with the painting. Rinse, repeat.
With soft palettes and exquisite props, North’s characters tell many dynamic stories. You can spend hours trying to read the entire visual narrative, befriend each subject, understand the background of every costume, and find the secrets behind the mechanisms.
My conceptual work (the stuff I do primarily for exhibition) is the most exciting and rewarding part of my studio practice – it’s my first love. But I also do a lot of portrait commission work, which can be rewarding in a different way. While it’s not always the type of work I’d choose to paint for myself or a show, the challenge of visiting new subjects, taking someone else’s hopes and desires for a personal piece, delving in, putting my twist on it, and then experiencing their reaction to the finished work can be deeply fulfilling and inspiring.
Lix North is currently working on conceptual pieces for a show called Antipodes 2021, which will take place at the Beinart Gallery in Melbourne in mid-January 2021. We expect to be surprised by her endless pool of ideas and entertained by fun and joyful characters.
Article written by Monica Radulescu