The Pasadena City College Division of Visual Arts and Media Studies is proud to welcome Peter Alexander, known worldwide as one of the quintessential artists of Southern California, as our 2007 Artist in Residence.
A native of Los Angeles, raised in Newport Beach, Alexander first gained widespread recognition in the 1960s for his translucent cast resin sculptures. He became associated with the “Finish Fetish” (or “Fetish Finish”) movement, a group of young artists centered in and around Venice, California. (Along with Alexander, this group included Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashgian and DeWain Valentine, among others.) These artists employed modern materials, including plastic polymers, to embody their interest in color and light, while also reflecting the specific conditions—both natural and cultural—that characterize Southern California. Their work alluded to California’s vast expanses of land, sea and sky, and to the sort of materials and craftsmanship found in the indigenous cultures of surfing, custom cars, and aerospace manufacturing. By the early 1970s, Alexander set off on the course that would define his career for the decades to follow, as he continued to explore similar themes while connecting his work to the great tradition of representational painting and drawing. Not content to merely move from abstraction to representation, Alexander dared to utilize subject matter and materials commonly dismissed as “kitsch,” such as painted sunsets or backgrounds of black velvet, managing to make remarkably sensuous art from these supposedly debased forms. Alexander’s work is marked by a consistent focus on light, pictorial space, and the ungraspable profusion reflected in such subjects as edgeless fields of water and expansive aerial views of the Los Angeles basin at night. As Alexander said in a recent interview, “It’s about the sublime.”
Alexander trained as an architect for several years before ultimately earning degrees in fine art at UCLA. His work continues to show the sensitivity to spatial concerns one might expect of an architect, and he has produced site-specific works in buildings by some of the world’s leading architects, including Cesar Pelli and Frank Gehry.
Alexander has previously served as an Artist in Residence at universities or institutes including California Institute of Technology; California State University, Long Beach; University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Sarabhai Foundation, Ahmedabad, India.
In addition to his exhibition in the PCC gallery, Peter Alexander will spend the week of March 19th through 23rd on campus, during which time he will meet with students, work in an open studio environment facilitated by faculty ceramicist Jim Gonzalez and faculty printmaker Carmen Schilaci, and present a public lecture.
Residency Schedule: March 19 – 23, 2007
Monday, March 19
9:30 – 10:30 AM Informal Introduction in Art Gallery Noon- 1 PM; 2 – 4 PM Open studio in Z-Building/Ceramics Lab 7 PM Public Lecture at Vosloh Forum 8:30 - 10 PM Opening reception at Art Gallery
Tuesday, March 20
9:30 – 12; 1:30 – 4 PM Open studio in Printmaking Lab
Wednesday, March 21
1:30 – 4 PM; 5:30 – 8 PM Open studio in Z-Building/Ceramics Lab
Thursday, March 22
9:30 – 12; 1:30 – 4 PM
Open studio, moving between Printmaking and Ceramics labs as needed to complete the projects
Friday, March 23
10 - 11:30 AM
Closing conversation with the artist, in the Art Gallery
Presentation of artwork to the college, at the Art Gallery