Monday, February 19, 2007

Albert Contreras – Twelve Untitled Works, 2002-2003

Selections from CSUN Foundation Permanent Art Collection
In the West Gallery, February 19 - March 7, 2007

Twelve works by Albert Contreras, donated by the artist to California State University, Northridge, are showcased from the Foundation Permanent Art Collections. Born in 1933 in Los Angeles, Contreras studied at Los Angeles City College (1955), Mexico City College (1956) and the University of Madrid (1957). During the mid-1950s into the 1960s Contreras explored Minimalist aesthetics. In 1960 he migrated to Stockholm, Sweden, where he lived for nine years developing his reputation as an artist who exhibited extensively, including at the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art. In 1969 he moved to New York, returned to Los Angeles in 1970, and currently lives in Santa Monica. In 1972 he abruptly stopped producing art, feeling he had aesthetically reached a dead end. Not until 1997, when he retired as a truck driver for the sanitation department after 25 years of service, did he resume painting.

Contreras exhibits regularly with the Daniel Weinberg Gallery in Los Angeles and the Bill Maynes Gallery in New York. From 1997 to 2005, he created irradiating geometric abstract environments. Contreras has sculpted vibrant acrylic squares and rectangles with thick and luscious jelly-like surfaces that pop out of the canvas floating in solid color. The geometric forms sparkle, an affect he achieved with pearlescent and fluorescent paints, glitter and interference pigments, which impart a metallic sheen to his canvases. The grid, thick paint, lyricism, and decorative quality of his works reflect the styles Kasimir Malevich’s Supermatism, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, the Neo-Plasticism of Theo van Doesburg, the Minimalism of Donald Judd and Don Flavin, to the more recent works by Linda Besemer, Wess Dahlberg, Jason Ecoff, and Linda Stark.


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