Peter Alexander dies at 81
Artist created ethereal worlds out of resin
Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2020, 11:05 AM.
By Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer
For Peter Alexander, the moment that helped change the direction of his art arrived after a mundane session of ding repair on his surfboard in the 1960s.
He had poured some resin into a paper cup to seal his board, and over the course of several hours the resin hardened into a translucent puck.
“I remember at the bottom of the Dixie Cup, this clear material,” he told a documentary team from the Getty Conservation Institute in 2014. “And I was doing a project and I thought, ‘I bet this could be done in polyester, in this resin.’ So I started casting it in little things — like little boxes.”
Those experiments with industrial materials, begun when he was a student at UCLA, led to the creation of ethereal sculptures that evoked the quietly shifting nature of light, color and environment. And they put Alexander among the vanguard of Southern California’s Light and Space artists, a movement that brought buoyancy and perceptual play to Minimalism, which until then been dominated by the more austere forms emerging from the East Coast.