Melting Boulevard by Alex McAdoo: Singapore

15 June - 13 July 2024

WOAW Gallery is proud to present Melting Boulevard, Los Angeles-based painter Alex McAdoo’s (b. 1987) first solo exhibition in Singapore, from 15 June - 13 July 2024.

Notably, Melting Boulevard marks developments in McAdoo’s visual language as he incorporates ideas from crucial Eastern thinkers into his landscape painting. This culminates in McAdoo’s inclusion of the number zero in his paintings, with mathematician Brahmagupta having written the rules for its use in the 7th Century. "I see zero as a representation of my Indian identity. Zero is different than other numbers, it’s a philosophical idea representing nothingness. It can be added to itself infinite times and stay the same,” the artist muses.

Picturesque symbols of the American suburb, such as foliage-lined streets, sprawling houses boasting lawns, and sleek cars fill McAdoo’s paintings. Soaked in the glow of vibrant, sunset-tinged skies, these idyllic scenes reference how he, born to an Indo- Caribbean family, grew up in Bellingham, Washington, a mostly white town in the Pacific Northwest. Beyond possessing an autobiographical slant, his depictions of these landscapes in America (many of which were historically ‘white-only’ neighbourhoods) assert his identity as a multiracial brown American.

Equally apparent are the compositions’ mesmerising, warped appearances, thanks to the inclusion of a vanishing point at the centre of a zero. Foliage, roads, and rooftops brazenly swirl, stretch, and bleed into the sky, appearing as if one were looking at the scene through a funhouse mirror. Evoking the reflection and refraction of light, the paintings harken back to the book ‘Optics.’ Written by 11th-century Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham, whom McAdoo considers a great inspiration, it explores how one views objects through the reflection of light. This idea has greatly impacted painters and architects from the Italian Renaissance to the present day.

Ultimately, this body of work serves as a testament to not only McAdoo’s lived experiences as a half-Indian, half-white, brown American working in the legacy of European oil painting, but also the numerous ways that non-European thinkers and their ideas changed the course of civilisation.