Alexander Small © 1998 - 2023 all rights reserved

From an Original Photograph © Pauline Wood 2013



Born in the UK, Alexander studied art and philosophy in Bristol and has been a practicing artist for the past seventeen years completing his MA at Camberwell College of Art London. He regularly exhibits in the UK, Europe, and North America. He has been a resident artist, trustee, director and volunteer at the Artist Sanctuary Community Interest Company in Northampton and a member of the Northampton Arts Collective as a voluntary board member for NN Contemporary (formerly the Fishmarket Gallery) from 2009 to 2018. He received the Juliet Gompert’s Trust Award in 2010, was selected for the Future Map 11 exhibition at the Zabludowicz Collection, completed an AIR mini residency at Archway London and completed the Printmaking fellowship 2016/17 at the University of Northampton. Past projects have included a collaborative practice ‘Articulating History’ placing art concepts in historical contexts and Gallery S6X a contemporary art space and online gallery. Current projects include an invitational curatorial project InCase, support for a dedicated Printmaking studio and gallery Intercession and an annual exhibition ‘Tayne Painters’.


My practice explores ideas of the Trickster as an archetype and how these are represented in visual culture. The trickster mythos includes characters such as Puck and Bugs Bunny with themes around these often including boundary breaking and liminality.

Taking cues from found imagery including the ‘poor images’ of the web, diagrams, photographs, scans of prints and cartoons I play with taboo subjects and repressed experiences. Acting in the vain of ‘tickster’ I seek to re-present a visual language mocking bodily functions, questioning gender and making jokes about genitals, philosophically working towards a ‘metaphysics of shit’.

Painting tropes are employed in a variety of ways joke abstraction, faux expressionistic gestures and uneven airbrushing lay bare the mechanics of the medium.


Camberwell College of Arts, London
University of the West of England, Bristol
University of Northampton

Con - Texts
Jean Fisher - 'Towards a Metaphysics of Shit' (2002)

'Trickster is the symbol of the liminal state and its re-creative potential. His and her precipitation of disorder, or “noise,“ wherever new insights are needed to engender social renewal is a ruse to reconfigure the “dynamic equilibrium of existence.”’XII However, he or she is not always the agent that restores order.' 

Terry Eagleton - Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002)

'Each dimension will then play into the other, as dream-world and intoxication merge and begin to speak each other’s language, beauty or the Apollonian rescuing the Dionysian from pure amorphousness, and the Dionysian redeeming the Apollonian from the dead-end of sheer vacuous form. Tragedy is Dionysian impulse discharging itself in Apollonian imagery.'

Friedrich Nietzsche - The Birth of Tragedy Section 21 (1872)

'So we could truly symbolize the complex relationship between the Apollonian and the Dionysian in tragedy with the fraternal bond between both divinities: Dionysus speaks the language of Apollo, but Apollo finally speaks the language of Dionysus, and with that the highest goal of tragedy and art in general is attained.'

Carl Jung - Collected Works, Vol. 14 para. 513 (1977)

The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. The Ouroboros has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the Ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia of the art was man himself. The Ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow. This 'feed-back' process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the Ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself. He symbolizes the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which [...] unquestionably stems from man's unconscious.