The Americas

Alex Sweet

Born 1983, USA

Alex Sweet’s naturalistic portraits present a series of prize fighters, bearing knuckles itching for blood and barbarity; they leer outward with piercing eyes and silently threaten us, offering a leitmotif of enlarged and exaggerated fists. Sweet renders his subjects in sketchy and textured monochrome vignettes, presenting an array of sepia tones evocative of aged archival photographs. The central focus of his compositions becomes up close and personal; men in combative poses and with hyper-defined musculature appear to stare directly at us, and into us, from underneath a furrowed brow. Richly textured and intricately detailed, Sweet indicates a latticework pattern as if rendered from the tip of a fine-point pen, cross-hatching a web of undulating lines that swirl seamlessly, highlighting every wrinkle and fold of the skin. Burned into the wood, the men appear as rigid and solid as the trees into which they are etched, stolid guardians with dipped shoulders, soft knees, with fists raised ready to fight.

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