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Alex Couwenberg: SuperGlide

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Exhibition Type:

How many artists: 
1

How many exhibition works:

Price Range: 
$15500 to
$20000
Date: 
Saturday, 10 December 2022 to Saturday, 11 February 2023
Opening: 
Saturday, 10 December 2022 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm

In his visually complex works, Couwenberg utilizes reductive and additive processes in his multilayered canvases through intuitive and spontaneous reactions. Simultaneously, he both builds upon and excavates those underlying remnants in these archaeological abstractions where he erodes, sweeps, and constructs strata from paint. Utilizing techniques and strategies of devising his own deeply personal, semiotic patois, his color-fielded planes are ciphered with nuance. Born and raised in Southern California Couwenberg has been inherently divined through osmosis to encapsulate an aesthetic and practice central to his experience and its cultural relativism.

Los Angeles, California’s suburban sprawl is the locus nucleus of where Alex Couwenberg’s art negotiates its matrix of lines, and maps its geographies. In the time proceeding the Second World War, California boomed and freeways became an integral part of its infrastructure. This Mid-Century phenomenon gave birth to a particularity of subcultures within the Los Angeles zeitgeist: car culture and skating. As the Pacific Electric Railroad’s grip on transportation and commerce abated, a web-scape of freeways encompassed neighborhoods and drove into people's backyards, weaving their way into a lifestyle. Public transportation became less-than-amenable as people began taking flight on these freeways, away from urban centers and skateboards became a more affordable alternative within them. The sprawling metropolis is often defined by these arteries which serve to both connect and divide. Car, skate, and surf culture are ubiquitous to Los Angeles and so it is inevitable that its artists have drawn from these folkways in multi-textured, multilayered narratives as Alex Couwenberg does. 

A graduate of The Art Center College of Design and The Claremont Graduate School, Couwenberg worked under the guidance of Karl Benjamin, one of the leading figures in the Southern California-based school of Hard-edge geometric abstraction. Benjamin was instrumental in the development of his painting style, process, and philosophy. The discipline and work ethic of geometric abstraction explored tightly ruled shapes and edges. Concurrently, “Finish Fetish” investigated invention through alternative mediums and technological advances to utilize the abundance of light as a medium all its own. These ethos work in tandem and binarily coalesce into Couwenberg’s post-postmodern vernacular and his unique language, characterized by its layered formal, material, and textured surfaces operating through systems of quotation, reference, and adaptation. 

A synthesis of styles and processes particular to the artist's experience materialize on the canvas to construct the poetics of his investigations. Masking off portions of the painting in his process recalls the batik technique of wax-resist dying and geometric patterning used in his father’s birthplace of Java, Indonesia, a former Dutch colony. His parents met in the Netherlands and immigrated to the U.S., making Alex a first-generation Eurasian American. This synthesis of cultures manifests in his pristine Neo-Plast lines, while he disrupts the rigid grid of De Stijl to formulate topsy-turvy cartographies embedded with encoded sign-systems. The alternating black-and-white banding alludes to “Invasion Stripes” used by Allied forces to define friendly aircrafts on their fuselages and wings during World War II but can also refer to Chevron stripes. The industrial spray gun is employed to create diaphanous atmospheric effects, where the foreground and background oscillate, while pearlescent paints shimmer on the surface. He lacerates striations on portions of the architectonic compositions with tools such as brooms, all the while revealing intersections between the complex networks of positive and negative spaces. These circuits are comparable to the labyrinthine freeways Angeleno’s surmount and the dextrous, freestyle choreographies skaters wreath. Couwenberg orchestrates self-portraits that intimate a collective unconscious unveiled through material and process, ultimately converting them into cultural artifacts.      

#AlexCouwenberg

Opening reception: Saturday, December 10th, 5–8pm 

December 10, 2022 –February 11, 2023 

Curator :

Artist ( Description ): 

A graduate of The Art Center College of Design and The Claremont Graduate School, Couwenberg worked under the guidance of Karl Benjamin, one of the leading figures in the Southern California-based school of Hard-edge geometric abstraction. Benjamin was instrumental in the development of his painting style, process, and philosophy. The discipline and work ethic of geometric abstraction explored tightly ruled shapes and edges. Concurrently, “Finish Fetish” investigated invention through alternative mediums and technological advances to utilize the abundance of light as a medium all its own. These ethos work in tandem and binarily coalesce into Couwenberg’s post-postmodern vernacular and his unique language, characterized by its layered formal, material, and textured surfaces operating through systems of quotation, reference, and adaptation. 

Telephone: 
3104530909
Other Info: 

Couwenberg’s paintings have been shown in several solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. His work can be found in numerous public, private, corporate, and museum collections around the world. Museum acquisitions include the Crocker Museum of Art, the Daum Museum in Missouri, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Laguna Art Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art, and Nushi-Umeda, Tokyo to name a few. In 2007, Couwenberg was awarded the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for his achievements in painting and in 2012 was featured as the subject of Los Angeles based filmmaker Eric Minh Swenson’s project titled “The Making Of La Fonda,” which focuses on the artist's life and studio practices. 

Venue ( Address ): 

2525 Michigan Ave., E-1, Santa Monica, CA 90404

William Turner Gallery , Santa Monica

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