KnockOnWood_2000w.jpg

Peter Alexander

Upcoming
Feb 11 – Mar 19, 2022
New York
 
Opening Reception:
Feb 10, 2022
6 – 8 PM
Exhibition Details:

Peter Alexander
Feb 11 – Mar 19, 2022

Gallery:

540 West 25th Street
New York

Connect:

@pacegallery

Press

Press Release

Above: Peter Alexander, Knock on Wood, 2020 © Peter Alexander

Pace Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of pioneering Light and Space artist Peter Alexander’s works.

This exhibition will feature works created by the artist from 2011 to 2020. This is the first presentation of Alexander’s recent works since his passing in 2020 and his first solo exhibition at Pace Gallery. His work has previously been featured at Pace’s galleries in Seoul and Hong Kong and at Lightness of Being, a dedicated presentation to Light and Space artists at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2018.

Alexander, born in Los Angeles in 1939, rose to great prominence in the 1960s with his cast polyester resin sculptures. Having nurtured a lifelong love of surfing, he used resin to fix his boards for many years. Alexander’s decision to utilize resin as an artistic material in the early 1960s was something of an epiphany. He had poured the material into a Dixie Cup to seal his surfboard, but found that over time the resin hardened into a translucent circle. This realization heralded the creation of Alexander’s iconic polyester resin sculptures that would position him as a key figure in the Los Angeles art scene and a vanguard of the California Light and Space movement.

Throughout his career, Alexander found inspiration for his art through a multitude of sources, including the landscape of his native California, geometry, the phenomenological effects of color and light, and perspectival nuance. His work has been likened to that of Pace artists such as James Turrell, Mary Corse, and Robert Irwin. He maintained a deep interest in the work of Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, particularly his ability to embed his works with “that certain quality of light, that quality of being under water.” Mark Rothko’s approach to color and mark making also served as a cornerstone for Alexander’s practice, and he once said, “I’ve always loved Rothko and the sensibility [within the edges he creates], so I decided to cast objects that had those kinds of edges that disappeared.”

This surplus of inspiration manifested itself into the translucently meditative sculptures for which he remains best known. In addition to sculpture, Alexander’s practice also spanned painting, drawing, lithography, and polaroid photography. When examining his work in these alternate mediums, the artist’s attentiveness to color becomes incredibly evident. In a 1971 interview, Alexander said, “Part of the concern that I have with color is that a very slight varying color could alter how you felt about it or you felt toward it or the kind of vibrations it sent off.”

Highlights in Pace’s presentation include the dynamic freestanding sculpture 9/22/17 Jet Black Needle (2017); the expansive and vibrant wall work Heard it Through the Grapevine (2019), rendered at a rare scale for the artist; and a group of translucent and ethereal sculptures rendered in block, box, and wedge forms.

Over the course of his career, Alexander showed his work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Diego Museum of Art, California; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and other international institutions. His work can be found in many of these collections as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, California; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; and other major museums.

Concurrent to this presentation, Alexander’s work is included in Light, Space, Surface: Works from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts. Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this exhibition explores the art of Light and Space and is on view through March 20, 2022. His work is also highlighted in Light & Space—a group exhibition focused on the Light and Space movement— at Copenhagen Contemporary through September 4, 2022.

 

About the Artist

Peter Alexander is recognized for his multidisciplinary practice through which he explored light and color. Alexander rose to artistic prominence in the 1960s, cementing himself as a key figure in California's Light and Space movement. Over the course of his six-decade career, Alexander became a master of creating, bending, and manipulating light while bringing the viewer into the realm of the object itself.