Reverse Trompe L’Oeil

Artist Alexa Meade's painted people make it big time

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Artist Alexa Meade works in the medium of flesh. The Washington D.C.-based artist, 23, calls her style of portraiture and performance art “Reverse Trompe L’Oeil,” compressing a 3-D space into a 2-D plane by painting directly on models. The resulting photographs of the person within a painted still life makes the illusion complete, an effect that in recent weeks has swept the Internet and landed her in some big name galleries.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that she doesn’t use Photoshop or any other digital editing tools. “Essentially, I am creating art that imitates life on top of life” says Meade, who graduated from Vassar College last year as a Political Science major. “My political past has taught me that what one experiences cannot always be interpreted at face value; seeing is not necessarily believing.”

Of her live installations, Meade says “I am transforming people into art objects. It is not often that an object can return the gaze of the viewer. Many viewers feel uncomfortable making direct eye contact. There are a lot of sideways glances.”


Postmasters Gallery in New York will include the young artist’s work in the “Mirror, Mirror” exhibition opening 2 April 2010. Also, look for her work in the “Art of Giving” show at the Saatchi Gallery in London this October.