Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to announce New Paintings, the third solo exhibition of paintings by Alex Couwenberg. Couwenberg draws from the aesthetics of his California experience (hotrods, surf and skate culture, and arcade games) to layer forms into a contemporary conversation with mid-century modernism.
Influenced by his relationship with mentor, Karl Benjamin, Alex Couwenberg builds a stratum of shapes and textures to converse with and reminisce on the not too distant past. The layers in his work reflect this relationship with history, “I wanted to find a middle ground between expressionism and hard-edge abstraction. I was really into laying down grounds of paint, leaving the hard raw edges but exposing the underpainting, revealing the history of the painting.” If the familiar muscular dynamism of Couwenberg’s earlier work appears tamed, today’s work is less removed and more intimate like a story that is more character based than event based, a kind of contemplative soliloquy. With increased painterly complexity, the work is honed and intimate. Loosening the austerity of the hard edge, the striations and loose outlines add risk to the execution and, with more at stake, the work is quiet and heartfelt; think Miles Davis’ move from Bebop. As Couwenberg’s work is still very masculine, this show represents a quiet side.
Born and raised in Southern California, Alex Couwenberg received his BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and his MFA from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, CA. He exhibits regularly throughout California, Idaho, Georgia and New York. Couwenberg’s work is in a number of public, corporate and private collections, including the Crocker Art Museum and the Long Beach Museum of Art. Alex Couwenberg currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.