2023 Mississippi Fellow for Visual Arts
Year of Award
Grant or Fellowship
Southern Prize and State Fellowship
Alexis McGrigg is a contemporary artist who examines themes of Blackness, space, spirituality, identity, and collective consciousness. Her artwork utilizes mediums such as painting, drawing, and interdisciplinary media to explore the multiplicity of Blackness through figurative abstraction and conceptual narratives. She integrates poetry, sound, and performance in her artistic practice and research.
Her artwork is featured in several private collections and has been exhibited in various locations across the United States and internationally, including New York, N.Y., Chicago, Ill., Miami, Fla., New Orleans, La., and Oakland, Calif. Recently, she had solo exhibitions titled In The Beloved at Almine Rech Gallery in Brussels, Belgium, The Labour of Being at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, France, and The Ether - Journey In Between at Richard Beavers Gallery in New York City. She also participated in group exhibitions such as SAY IT LOUD at Christie’s Auction House, Salon de Peinture at Almine Rech in New York City, and LIGHT at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA) in South Korea.
Alexis received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Mississippi State University in 2012 and a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting and Transmedia from Texas Tech University in 2017.
In her current body of work, Alexis continues expounding on the narrative of Blackness that is the foundation of her conceptual ideas. For her, Blackness manifests itself in three forms: figurative abstraction, the notion of spirituality and its relationship to Being, and celestial & metaphysical space. Her narrative of Blackness asserts that in order for Black people of all descent to come into being, they must travel to and from a larger theoretical plane, the Further or the space of All Being. Her artwork is a visual examination of their mode of travel, how they venture to and from “Home”, and the planes through which they move. Alexis uses celestial space as a metaphor for the autonomy of Blackness, redefining its agency as a fixed idea or way of being and leaning into its fluidity and ability to be more complex than we allow ourselves to understand. With this in mind, on a larger scale, It – Blackness, having its foundation in the body and the black experience, has the ability to manifest as an intangible space that releases its dependence on the physical body. Through her paintings, she seeks to allow the viewer a wider perspective of the vastness of our existence.
Alexis employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine these concepts, utilizing painting, drawing, transmedia, and installation. Her choice of materials greatly impacts the visual language she is able to achieve within a work. For example, her paintings utilize layers of rich fabric dyes that have soaked into drenched watercolor paper and canvas. The many layers of dye allow her to push into the surface imagery, creating depth and what she thinks of as an opening into the picture plane. Similarly, the use of layers in her experimental videos imply what can be construed as a portal or expansive opening into an alternate world. While the method of application may differ, the concepts and exploration remain the same, linking a visual thread through the chosen media.