Born and raised in Southern California, painter Alex Couwenberg creates images that are inspired by the elements indigenous to his surroundings. From Los Angeles, Couwenberg’s work references and suggests the aesthetic associated with mid-century modernism, car culture, skateboards, and surfboards. Not to leave out, paying homage to the historical styles of post-war art making associated with Los Angeles and southern California throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Couwenberg’s paintings give a nod towards the Hard-edge abstractionists, the finish fetish, and the light and space artists. Not content to replicate, he uses the sensibility of Eames-era design and hard-edge geometric abstraction as points of departure for creating paintings. His process, an additive and reductive series of moves and passes, creates multilayered environments that are deep and sensual. He harnesses these ideas into harmonious results, reflecting the visual landscape of his environment.
A graduate from 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 initial development of Couwenberg’s painting style, process, and philosophy. The vocabulary of Couwenberg’s work references the dedication toward craft, process, and the progression of concepts and techniques. Splitting his time between his California studio and his home in Hawaii has further fueled the visual language in his work and reflects his appreciation of both regions’ aesthetic.
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. Recent museum acquisitions include the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, LagunaArt Museum, Crocker Museum of Art, and the DaumMuseum in Missouri. In 2007 Couwenberg was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for his achievements in painting and was recently featured as the subject of Los Angeles based film maker Eric Minh Swenson, which focuses on the artist’s life and studio practices. Couwenberg recently exhibited a body of paintings in a two person show along with his mentor Karl Benjamin in Los Angeles. The show was part of the Getty Museum’s ongoing “Pacific Standard Time” project highlighting southern California artists and their contributions toward art making.