Border Crossings / Cross Canada Fundraising Auction

Auction begins to close:
February 25, 2024 at 8:00 pm ET

Online Auction

Lot 5

Alex Bierk

Alex Bierk
Lot 5 Details
Alex Bierk

MATCH, 2023

Watercolour and gouache on paper;
signed on back; unframed
8.25 x 9.5 in — 21 x 24.1 cm

Estimate $1,600-$1,800

Realised: $900

Lot Report

Additional Images
Alex Bierk
  • Alex Bierk
  • Alex Bierk

Courtesy of the artist; General Hardware, Toronto.

The Work & Artist Bio

match, 2023, watercolour and gouache on paper is a subtle illumination. Rendered with a careful hand and the close-looking characteristic of Alex Bierk, this fine piece could be an emblem for the artist’s life and career. Often drawn from his personal history, his subjects reflect his own difficult struggles in moving literally, toward the light. Layered, but transparent tones of grey and black give the darkness a depth of space and the carefully unpainted triangle in the centre, letting the paper show through, is the light the ignited match offers. The incandescent blue of the flame is here pulled back and appears as a reference; the stem of the match is held between thumb and forefinger, the other fingertips curling under in pinkish tones. At first abstract, this lovely drawing is, in fact, a strong and personal statement. The artist’s work has appeared as a Borderview in Border Crossings in 2019.

Alex Bierk was born in 1982 in Peterborough, Ontario and is a self-taught artist who works mainly in oil and watercolour. His artistic approach combines spontaneity with discipline, using straightforward and unadorned photographs as references and employing a meticulous and time-intensive painting technique. He simplifies his visual interpretation by breaking down the image into quarter-inch squares, using a grid. This deliberate painting method, along with his focus on regional and personal subject matter results in intricately detailed paintings that possess an authentic and intimate quality. Bierk uses his career and influence as an artist as a form of advocacy. His work tackles themes that are personal to him such as addiction, recovery, homelessness, the drug crisis, and is interwoven with his strong connection to his community. Through his paintings of vintage cars, a pile of pills, sunlight streaming through a window – he embeds his personal experiences into the work. Bierk has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and in 2020 was the recipient of the prestigious Laura Ciruls Painting Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including recently at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON), and Harper's (East Hampton, NY). Bierk's work is held in notable collections, including major banks, corporations, and private collectors across North America. He is represented by General Hardware, Toronto where he had an exhibition “keepin’ time,” in 2023, and by VivianeArt, Calgary.

Recovery Artist, Border Crossings Issue 152, 2019

General Hardware



For condition information please contact the specialist.


About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.