Remai Modern's first emerging artist finds inspiration in every day items

Vancouver-based artist Alexine McLeod is the first chosen for the newly opened Remai Modern's Emerging Artist Series.

Alexine McLeod's work is made with pieces of just about anything that stands out and catches her eye

For Alexine McLeod inspiration can come from just about anywhere. (Submitted by Remai Modern)

One person's junk is often said to be another person's treasure, but for Alexine McLeod, it would be more accurate to say it's her inspiration. 

McLeod is the first artist selected for the Emerging Artist series at Saskatoon's Remai Modern. Her work consists of odds and ends taken from thrift stores or items discovered on the street. 

"I'm interested in the idea of exploring spaces to find things that I didn't expect to use in my art and it's the unexpected element of objects that really draw me towards them that I'm really curious about," said McLeod. 

She said the attraction or pull of an item is instant. Her background in photography gave her a "gut inclination" for striking images and things to incorporate into her next piece. 
Alexine McLeod is the inaugural artist in the Emerging Artist Series at Saskatoon's Remai Modern. (Submitted by Remai Modern)

The inspiration for her next piece can come from literally anywhere. For example, a paper bag, completely and totally flattened on the road stood out to her. 

"All the creases on the other side were really quite beautiful," said McLeod. "This is the type of thing that inspires me. It's like a brown paper bag to anyone else but to me I see the beauty in it."

Even a red plastic lid from a container can strike McLeod and make an impression.

Part of McLeod's process is imagining or creating stories that go along with the bits and pieces she uses. One of her works incorporates a yellow jump rope with wooden handles. 

"It immediately made me think this jump rope has been around for some time," said McLeod. "I think about what kind of person would have owned it in the past."

But the visual elements of the pieces supercede the imagined histories of the items. "It's almost more about it's new life as it becomes incorporated," said McLeod.

Her work is on display until Aug. 12, 2018 on the third floor of Saskatoon's new riverside gallery and museum. 

With files from Saskatchewan Weekend