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. Couwenbergs 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 development of his painting style, process, and philosophy. A Southern California native, Couwenberg naturally embraced this sensibility and applied it to his art making practices. By instilling the discipline and work ethic associated with these philosophies into his process, the paintings began to mature and develop a visual voice. The vocabulary references the dedication toward craft, process, and the progression of concepts and techniques.
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 Long Beach Museum of Art, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Laguna Art Museum, Crocker Museum of Art, and the Daum Museum in Missouri. In 2007 Couwenberg was awarded the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for his achievements in painting and was recently featured as the subject of Los Angeles based filmmaker 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 towards art making.