I’m often stuck in the never ending tangle between function and art, maybe not art itself but more spontaneous expression that comes from categories such as sculpture and painting. The amalgamation of both inspires me immensely, I don’t think as a creative I should be penned in to one specific box, I’d rather take risks, try new things, gain skills and knowledge from all areas of creative expression.
Saying that, the utilitarian inside of me will always be attracted to grid-like forms, particularly those basic shapes that are bold and striking. I guess all categories are reliant on form as an entity, if the lines aren’t flowing or the objects proportions aren’t quite right then the final piece will never have the same impact. Peter Alexander’s sculpture is particularly fascinating, the Californian artist works with resin to create these fantastic semitransparent works. As with all makers, as much as I like the finished pieces I’m often more interested in the process, this is where you can learn the most.
The video seen below, produced by the Getty Conservation, gives us an idea of Peter’s life as an artist and his discovery of polyester resin in the 1970s. Peter studied architecture as a young man before switching to art in the mid-1960s, his inspiration for such pieces is his hometown of California, mainly the distinctive light and clear ocean. The way these capture and refract the surrounding light is quite wonderful. Although they look simple, to get to this finished state takes a lot of skill, much like what any good craftsman would go through. Alongside a selection of short videos by the Getty Conservation is a longer documentary piece on De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column, it’s worth watching as it links in with this article nicely. For now, enjoy this film and the set of sculptures, similar works can be found on the Peter Alexander website.