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Alexia Sinclair

BIOGRAPHICAL

Alexia Sinclair is best known for her intense colour photographs portraying historical and allegorical figures. Her elaborate compositions take on the complexities of history painting by depicting a moment in a narrative story. The abundant detail and symbolism in her work are devices that allow her to tell complex stories. Her pictures combine the elegant finesse of contemporary fashion design with the sumptuous aesthetics of the Golden Age of painting.

From the age of four, Sinclair grew up on the stage, performing as a ballerina into her late teens. Being immersed in the fantasy world of the theatre has profoundly impacted the way that she approaches her work. She often creates dramatic staging of her characters by lighting her scenes in the chiaroscuro style. Her creative process involves designing and hand producing elaborate costumes, sets and props to produce extraordinarily detailed large-scale photographs.

Born (1976) in Newcastle, Australia. Alexia Sinclair studied Fine Arts in Sydney at The National Art School (1995-1998). She majored in traditional photography, and her studies in painting, drawing, sculpture and art history have heavily influenced the way that she approaches her practice. Completing a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Newcastle (2007), she went on to win several national awards for her MFA series ‘The Regal Twelve’. Celebrating the lives of twelve powerful women in history, the series took three years to complete and involved compiling over 2,000 plates of medium format film through hand illustration and digital montage.

In her series ‘A Frozen Tale’, Sinclair embarked on a journey to Skokloster Slott, following an invitation from the Armoury at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Set on frozen Lake Mälaren, the Swedish castle is considered one of the finalist examples of Baroque architecture in all of Europe. Housing vast collections of rare books, artworks and weaponry, the museum has remained untouched for hundreds of years. Respecting the constraints of conservation, she photographed her subjects within the castle, later adding the atmospheric elements that are typical of life in a 17th century castle, such as the smoke of large fireplaces or the geese of a castle kitchen. The large-scale artworks were exhibited on site before exhibiting in festivals in Seoul and Dubai.

The ‘Rococo’ series is a collection of sensual portraits inspired by the 18th century pleasure playgrounds of French court. The project is guided by the design aesthetics and flamboyant fashions of the period. Through extensive research, Sinclair handmade costuming from richly embroidered silks, muslins, flowers and feathers, to accessorise and reimagine iconic women of the court. In the year leading up, she grew thousands of flowers for the elaborate sets, arranging the exotic flowerbeds around her models in a studio setting. This series is ongoing.

Sinclair is a creative artist whose practice spans both fine art and commercial application. Her artworks have been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Australian Centre for Photography, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra and internationally in photography festivals from Paris to Pingyao, Seoul and Dubai. Her commercial clients include the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Queensland Ballet, New Zealand Opera, Qantas Airlines, Harper’s Bazaar and Christie's. Sinclair currently lives and works in London, with her husband James Hill and their daughter Heidi Sinclair-Hill.

EDUCATION

2004-2007 Master of Fine Arts, University of Newcastle (Australia)
2002-2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours Class I, University of Newcastle (Australia)
2001-2002 Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Newcastle (Australia)
1995-1998 Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts, National Art School (Sydney, Australia)

SELECTED AWARDS AND GRANTS

2016 Finalist, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery (London)
2013 Finalist, Olive Cotton Award, Tweed River Art Gallery (Australia)
2011 Finalist, National Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery (Australia)
2007 Winner, The Newton-John Award, University of Newcastle (Australia)
2007 Winner, National Tertiary Art Prize, La Trobe University (Australia)
2007 Winner, Harpers BAZAAR Fashion Photography Award, (Australia)
2006 Finalist, Photographic Portrait Prize (Archibald), Art Gallery NSW (Australia)
2005 Recipient, Postgraduate Research Scholarship, University of Newcastle (Australia)
2005 Recipient, Jennie Thomas Masters Scholarship, University of Newcastle (Australia)
2004 Recipient, Jennie Thomas Travelling Art Scholarship, University of Newcastle (Australia)
2003 Finalist, The Josephine Ulrick National Photography Prize, Griffith University (Australia)

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2016 A Frozen Tale, Dubai Photo Exhibition, Australian Pavilion, (Dubai)
2015 Rococo, Black Eye Gallery (Sydney)
2015 A Frozen Tale, Arlanda International Airport (Sweden)
2014 A Frozen Tale, UISAN International Photography Festival (Korea)
2014 A Frozen Tale, Skokloster’s Castle (Sweden)
2014 A Frozen Tale, Queensland Centre for Photography (Australia)
2012 Homage, Devonport Regional Gallery (Australia)
2012 Homage, Customs House (Australia)
2012 Homage, Adelaide Festival Centre (Australia)
2009 The Regal Twelve, Pingyao International Photography Festival (China)
2008 The Regal Twelve, Customs House (Australia)

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015 The Art of Saving a Life, GAVI Global Vaccine Alliance (Berlin)
2013 Images of Christina, The Royal Armoury (Sweden)
2013 Shock of the Nude, Gippsland Art Gallery (Australia)
2011 New Worlds, The Museum of Photography, Seoul (Korea)
2011 Fantasy World, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (Australia)
2011 Black Box White Cube, The Arts Centre Melbourne (Australia)
2011 Images from Adland, Australian Centre for Photography (Australia)
2011 Sumptuary, Australian Centre for Photography (Australia)
2010 Phantasia, Wollongong City Gallery (Australia)
2010 Phantasia, Plimsoll Gallery (Australia)
2009 Phantasia, Photoquai Biennale, Australian Embassy (Paris)
2009 Phantasia, Samstag Museum (Australia)
2008 Phantasia, Australian Centre for Photography (Australia)

SELECTED LIST OF ARTICLES

2017 Janelle Zara, Christie's (International) Feature Story: "In the Eye of the Beholder"

2016 Alyn Griffiths, CNN Style (International)
Feature story: “History meets high fashion in Alexia Sinclair's stunning photographs”
2016 Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop. BLOUINARTINFO (International)
“Ten Contemporary Fine Art Photographers You Should See at Dubai Photo Exhibition”
2015 Alison Stieven-Taylor, Australian Financial Review (France)
Cover story: “Artist Alexia Sinclair's 'Rococo' recreates elaborate court of Versailles”
2015 Melena Ryzik, New York Times (USA)
“Gates Foundation Uses Art to Encourage Vaccination”
2015 Leo Mirani, Quartz (International)
“Bill Gates is commissioning art to remind people why vaccines are important"
2015 Alasdair Foster, PHOTOWORLD magazine(China)
Cover Story : “The Art of the Historical Present”
2015 Paul Clark. Capture magazine (Australia)
Cover Story: “Floral affair - Alexia Sinclair's amazing series, Rococo”
2014 Lottie Hedley. PRO Photographer (New Zealand)
Cover Story: “Australian royalty”
2012 Kate Stanworth. AfterCapture (USA)
Cover Story: “Alexia Sinclair: A Royal Feast”
2010 ABC Television, Art Nation (Australia)
Feature: “Alexia Sinclair, Homage”
2010 Sophie Tomte, Azart Magazine (France)
Feature story: “Reines d’acier"
2010 Sara Namias, Zoom Magazine (Italy)
Feature Story
2009 ABC Television, Sunday Arts (Australia)
Feature: “Phantasia”
2007 Alison Veness-McGourty, Harper's BAZAAR (Australia)
Limited Edition Book: 10 Years of Fashion Photography