In June 2008 House of Gaga presented Alex Hubbard’s first show in Mexico. Eight years later and with a prolific and experimental practice following it it’s possible to confirm the transformations in his work: his questioning of the pertinence of painting and what abstraction is today. Is it stuck in a dead end or rather in a sort of loop like the one traced with the works in the show?
Portrait of a German painter (Female), the unlikely twin of Portrait of a German painter (Male), winks to the German abstract painting tradition to which the artist has always identified with. Halfway between readymade and abstraction this painting becomes a window that opens into a doubt. Could we still say we stand in front of an abstract painting?
In their own way the three pieces of the series Bar Paintings share this same instability oscillating between painting and sculpture. With their small format they presume a continuation of the domestic space apparent in the artist’s individual bars as medicine cabinets to alleviate solitude and the present conditions surrounding contemporary production. For a moment the images covering them function as mere props. More than paintings these are theatrical gestures that yield secret space – the possibility of escape hidden only to be canceled by the image and its own iconic seduction. Painting giving up painting and returning to it. For the ones who know Hubbard’s work this sudden meddling into the figurative draws attention. Are these pentimentos on his own abstract work? Maybe the answer could be found in Itchy-Chaps where the image that serves as an invite to ‘El Cafecito’ blurs and we observe it at the same moment when we enter abstract territory.
The show closes with El Templo, where more than closing it opens its view to an overlook where we can see at a distance a ghostly imagined city space projected onto another ghost, the image of a sculpture in a video. In turn the whole set of works convey a meeting place as in a a café.