Los Angeles

Peter Alexander

James Corcoran Gallery

Peter Alexander’s recent paintings on black velvet are virtuosic in the extreme. Lush, subaqueous fields stuck with tinsel, rhinestones, taffeta, and corduroy, they are almost painfully beautiful.

Alexander began making paintings on black velvet about six years ago (take that, Julian Schnabel), but those hard-edge glittering sunsets walked a thin line between the metaphysical idealism of his earlier cast-resin wedges and the vernacular trashiness of their own materials and subject matter. The high-tech transcendentalism of the wedges, their yearning sense of unattainable perfection, was clearly beginning to come down to earth, but those paintings refused to fully surrender the metaphysical to the physical.

In the recent velvets, however, all traces of restraint have disappeared. The unstretched, free-hanging black velvet is painted with slashes of glittery crimson, silver, mint green, and

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