New paintings by Alias Trate explore what it means to be human during a global pandemic

Apollonian Penitence, 2020 © Alias Trate

Although we may think we've behaved angelically during the global pandemic, it's likely we've all had moments when we've slipped. Canadian artist Alias Trate's new figurative works take a closer look at virtue and vice as intrinsic elements of the human condition.

Entitled Zeus' Bastards, his latest oil on canvas series refers to the messy relationship between the two illegitimate sons of Zeus: Apollo, the god of the sun, symbolising pure form and rationality, and Dionysus, the god of wine and dance, symbolising chaos and passion. It relates to our own forced period of introspection following the disruption of lockdowns and restrictions this year.

"There has been a steady removal of many superfluous elements in our lives," says Trate. "Like never before, we have had to come to terms with ourselves and have discovered in the lockdown a clarity of vision. We are complex emotional beings, conditioned by light and dark."

His paintings certainly play on the tensions that lie behind closed doors. This contrast between measured reason and chaotic passion is an ongoing theme in Trate's work. "I have always painted whenever I have felt the need to understand the underlying forces that drive my emotions, desires and actions. Painting is a way to render intelligible and cope with existence," he adds.

Trate's latest pieces blur the line between masculinity and femininity, between beauty and horror. "My work is inherently subconscious," he says, "It's about expressing, coping and affirming sensibilities, emotions and identities that would otherwise elude capture."

Zeus' Bastards will go on show in a solo pop-up exhibition at 15 Bateman Street, Soho, London, W1D 3AQ from 1-3 October 2020. Find out more at www.aliastrate.com.

August Vice, 2020 © Alias Trate

August Vice, 2020 © Alias Trate

Wary Virtue, 2020 © Alias Trate

Wary Virtue, 2020 © Alias Trate

Savage Rapture, 2020 © Alias Trate

Savage Rapture, 2020 © Alias Trate

Plastic Cognition © Alias Trate

Plastic Cognition © Alias Trate

Dionysian Cleric, 2020 © Alias Trate

Dionysian Cleric, 2020 © Alias Trate

Innocent Malice, 2020 © Alias Trate

Innocent Malice, 2020 © Alias Trate