Alex Guofeng Cao came to New York searching for his pursuit, came upon photography, which easily alex Guofeng Caobecame his passion. Inspired by such masters as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Edward Weston, and Robert Mapplethorpe, Cao ceaselessly studied and experimented with all methods and techniques in photography. While adept with color, Cao’s preferred medium is the black and white image. Cao’s deep fascination with the subtle gradations of tone between the deep black and the stark white are the generators for all the colors he needs to create his world.
The most recent body of work by Cao is a series of images of popular culture icons. At a glance almost anyone can identify some if not all of the characters in the menagerie of stars. But, upon closer inspection, one can see that these stars are composed of a constellation of tiny repetitive images each slightly differing from its neighbors. The arrays of miniscule visages that compose and conspire to form the larger portraits are iconic images themselves. The plot thickens as one realizes that there is a play, a dialogue between the chosen characters that inhabit each other.
The method of creation for Cao is really that of composing a mosaic of memories into an impression of the present. Impressed and greatly influenced by the ideal forms and proportions of the iconic and statuesque sculptures of the ancient Egypt, Greek and Roman eras, Cao’s works can be said to have their roots in western antiquity. Another great source of inspiration are impressions from his trip a decade ago of the mosaic floors and walls of Naples and Pompeii. It’s the combination of these two base strategies that allows Caos’ works to take shape.
The images are imposing and arresting to say the least. With their immense dimensions, their presence can be felt from quite a distance away. The powerful oversized main images and the armies of tiny images that compose them are specifically paired to create a dialogue. The histories and backgrounds of each of the characters are pitted against each other. The image of Marilyn Monroe is populated by countless diminutive images of the Mona Lisa. These two women are, arguably, the most famous women in the world. They share an unusual bond in that they are both, in some ways, fictional characters. The pairing also suggests another connection in that they are both fantasies. One is the fantasy of the 20th century and the other is the singular fantasy and imagination of DaVinci.
As one looks closer and closer at the images and scrutinize all the intricate details, one may begin to realize that hidden within the sea of tiny repetitive images are carefully chosen codes and clues that the author inserted in strategic locations, as a reminder of the events and situations in which these characters were involved in history.
In the end, the process of encoding and layering of information of the times is ultimately the goal. As time passes, so does information get deposited into the works. These images undergo evolution and change as time passes, and they bear the marks of a collection of history, as well as the author’s intent.
Born in 1969 in China.
Lives and works in New York.
2015 ArtHamptons Solo Exhibition, New York, USA
2015 Before Selfies: Portraiture through the Ages, The Heckscher Museum of Art, New York, USA
2015 From Portraits to Tweets, Hofstra University Museum NY, USA
2014 Scope Miami, FL, USA
2014 INSPIRE, Solo Exhibition, Aspen, Co, US
2014 Matlere vs Memoire, Galerie Paul Janssen, St. Tropez, France
2014 Art Hamptons, NY USA
2014 AIG Building Lobby, NY, USA
2013 The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas, USA
2012 Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, USA
2012 Museum of the Banco de la Republica Bogota, Colombia
2012 The Image Within, Soho Exhibition, Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
2012 Group show, Emblem and Image, Birnam Wood Galleries, New York, NY, US
2012 Mironova Gallery, Kiev, Ukraine
2012 Houston Art Fair, Houston, Texas, USA
2012 Aspen Art Fair, Aspen, Co, USA
2012 Art Hampton, NY, USA
2012 VILLA DEL ARTE GALLERIES Beirut Art Fair, Beirut, Lebanon
2012 Art Basel 43, Switzerland
2012 Scope Basel, Switzerland
2012 Art Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2012 Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, Texas USA
Art Basel Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Paris Photo, Paris, France
KÜNSTLER AUF DER ART FAIR, Cologne, Germany
Marrakech Art Fair, Marrakech, Morocco
Art 42 Basel, Switzerland
Scope Basel, Switzerland
Edwynn Houk Galley, New York, USA
Identity Crisis, The Heckscher Museum of Art, New York, USA
Alp Galleries, Frankfurt, Germany
Lookforart, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Galerie Albert Benamou, MY ALL-STARS, Paris, France
Gallery M, Pixel - The Evolution of The Photograph, Denver, Colorado, USA
Cavalier Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Nantucket, MA, USA
Decompse/Recompose: Resurrect, Guy Hepner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Decompose/Recompose: Resurrect, Solo Exhibition, Stux Gallery, New York, USA
Unix Fine Arts, Olympia Art Fair, London, ENGLAND
VeniceProject, San Francisco Art Fair, CA, USA
Contrasts and Collusions, Solo Exhibition, Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel, IN, USA
Decompose/Recompose: Resurrect, Solo Exhibition, Art Chicago Art Fair, Chicago, USA
Villa del Arte Galleries, Barcelona, Spain
ScopeNY, Solo Exhibition, New York, USA
Legend, Solo Exhibition, LA Art Show, Los Angeles, USA
Legend, PanAmericanArtProjects Gallery, Photo LA, Los Angeles, USA
Legend, Woolff Gallery, London Art Fair, London, UK
10 x 10, WhiteBox Gallery, New York, USA
Legend, Photo Miami, Solo Exhibition, Miami, USA
Legend, Art Miami, Miami, USA
Legend, ChinaSquare Gallery, Solo Exhibition, New York, USA
Elements, ChinaSquare Gallery, New York, USA
Mysticism, Grant Gallery, New York, USA
Fusionism, Pegasus Gallery, New York, USA
Fashion Photography, Kobe Fashion Museum, Kobe, Japan