Velvets 1974-1982

Peter Alexander, Dorado, 1982, 94 x 115″, Acrylic & Fabric Collage on Velvet

When one thinks of paintings on black velvet they are most likely to envision a kitschy idyllic landscape or portrait of Elvis collecting dust in a thrift shop and not in a contemporary gallery.   Perhaps because of this common predisposition, I was struck by the mixed media acrylic paintings and fabric collage on velvet by Peter Alexander.  Which are on view at Craig Kull Gallery in Santa Monica as part of the city wide Pacific Standard Time Art in L.A. 1945-1980 exhibits.  Alexander’s Velvets are instead a  spectacular mix a science fiction space odyssey especially when viewed from a distance. Up close there is a quirky costumed or Muppet-like puppet assemblage of collaged patchy fabrics, exposed stitching, and glitter glue.  Large in size, they embody the space of a classic Ab-Ex painting, but physically are more akin to a folk art quilt hanging on a wall.  I found Alexander’s Velvets a delightful mix of the language of abstract spatial paintings and the two-dimensionality of fabric collage.

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