Artist's Statement


The new work presented at Kathleen Cullen Fine Art is the continuation of the “Histograms and Variations” explorations begun in 2001.

“Histograms” is a term I appropriated for works created by extracting and abstracting minute details from specific photographs. The latest work incorporates a similar method, however the resulting image reflects basic elements from the source image, allowing representation to occur. The subjects rendered are of portraits and the urban landscape. The subjects explored refer to man’s relationship to himself, to his history and his surroundings in the age of technology.

In our increasingly technological world, connections to information and our perceived reality are often made through various types of electronic visual screens: Computers, televisions, projectors, PDAs, mobile phones and the like. We now live with the ability to be intimately involved in the lives of people whom we have and may never physically meet, in environments and constructs that are entirely digital. This is a precarious and revolutionary step in the evolution of man. We are all bound to exist in this amorphous state, as technology becomes a necessity and integral part of our lives.

I am interested in the visual element of this interaction.

The human brain has the ability to recognize and differentiate minute details in another’s face within a fraction of a second. People we have only seen in the media are immediately recognized on the street as if they had been neighbors. This phenomenon has elevated fame and notoriety to the significant and celebrated part of contemporary culture.

In order to explore these phenomenons in my work, I created a visual filter – a sort of digital kaleidoscope – through which only basic elements of representation remain visible. I chose a linear graphic reminiscent of the commonplace bar code as inspiration for this filter. Representing one of the first widely and commercially used man made systems that can only be read by a machine, further distancing us from our surroundings, each other and ultimately ourselves. This mapping between messages and barcodes is referred to as “Symbology”. It is a way to establish conceptual connections between behavioral psychology and mathematics

This existential ambiguity informs my new work, simultaneously representational and abstract.

New York, March 21, 2008




Alex Haas has spent the past twenty years developing a fully integrated approach to the arts and is equally vested in music, photography and multimedia.  Haas’ recent visual work, and its accompanying video and soundscape, reveal his first true synthesis of these multiple disciplines. Haas’ work, which is influenced by his own forays into electronic and ambient music, evokes the powerful color imagery of Rothko, but with a precise, digital feel. The artist’s photographic abstractions use color and space to create a vast, suspended panorama that seems to float and expand on the print.

Haas was born in New York in 1963, the son of world-renowned Austrian photographer Ernst Haas. The artist grew up in both Europe and the United States, infused with the spirit of photojournalism and a passion for modern art. During his teens, Haas became fascinated with the blossoming European electronic music scene of the late seventies. His musical world was revolutionized upon discovering the pioneering ambient works of Brian Eno whom he met in New York in 1980 and, more recently, worked with on U2’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”.


Haas has studied computer music at MIT and guitar/composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved back to New York City in 1982 to work at the famed Power Station Recording Studio and to start building a career in music engineering/production. During the last two decades, such seminal artists as U2, Bill Laswell, Eric Clapton, Kronos Quartet, Talking Heads and James credit Haas on dozens of influential albums.


A talented musician in his own right, Haas co-founded Cypher 7 in 1996, an ambient/alternative group whose three widely acclaimed albums (produced and released by Bill Laswell) continue to influence new artists.  More recently he recorded and released his first solo album, Buildings, on his own Sonicontinuum label.


The artist’s current visual series explores color and space in a structured and mathematical manner applying theoretical concepts used in his recordings. While manipulating a digitized photograph of his father’s, he realized that by working with computers, photographs could be “sampled” in much the same way as recorded music. “The idea of repetition, whether in the repeated loops of hip hop or the apparent repetition of Indian music, has always interested me. Within their simplicity, repetitions create an illusionary space where the listener can project himself. My current work explores this same concept in the visual domain.”