My drawings idiosyncratically depict circumstances that associate Americans, i. e. dysfunction, style as empowerment, nature worship, anarchy, Hollywood. The community in my work finds a vehicle in fictional Delta City, where isolation gives greater opportunity for local superstars and homegrown fashion. It is a deprived, rural landscape where signs state DIRT FOR SALE. Delta City makes references to self-taught sensibilities and is a hideaway for flamboyant, rebellious characters. Zealous, glamrock hippies possess talismans in the form of souvenir clothing and jewelry, migraine auras, and candy-striped objects, including donuts and phones. Individuals’ personal style has a piled-on, shrine aesthetic. Nostalgic telephones suggest the communicative ability of art and a potential for mischief. Delta City is also metaphor for the family unit with its resident anarchists and history of secrecy, symbolized by semi-disguised participants.
Raised in Mississippi and now living in Brooklyn, Alex O'Neal graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His drawings and paintings have been shown at The Drawing Center, New York; BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Herbert Johnson Museum at Cornell, Ithaca, NY; Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; Festival International d'Art Singulier, Aubagne, France; LACE; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Chicago Cultural Center; Linda Warren Projects, Chicago; Rockefeller Art Center, SUNY Fredonia; and P.S.122, New York. His work is in volumes 16 and 38 of New American Paintings. O'Neal has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Camargo Foundation (Cassis, France), Tennessee Arts Commission, and National Endowment for the Arts. His website is www.alexoneal.com.