2019 Homestead Magazine

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John Alexander at Tayloe Piggott Gallery

John Alexander in his studio.

Tayloe Piggott Gallery
TayloePiggottGallery.com

Story By
Bradley Sumrall
Photos By
Jenny Gorman

John Alexander was born on October 26, 1945, in the gritty oil town of Beaumont, Texas—a place surrounded by lush, natural beauty and rich in cultural identity and tradition. It was a deeply religious community, firmly rooted in Southern Protestantism. Beaumont was also subject to the racism and inequality that plagued much of the South at the time, and just two years before Alexander’s birth, was the setting for the Beaumont Riot of 1943. Coming from a place filled with such dualities—industry/wilderness, religion/hatred, black/white—Alexander was left with a reverent love of the natural world and a disdain for hypocrisy and abuse of power. These traits have informed his paintings and drawings for his entire life.

Alexander may have left the South nearly 40 years ago, but the landscape and culture of his Texas home still permeate every inch of his surfaces. His work is deeply rooted in the wild bayous of his childhood, but it is also forged in the crucible of formal training, tempered through immersion in the works of masters such as Goya and Ensor, and refined through years of relentless and focused studio production. Throughout his career, symbolism and narrative have guided each brushstroke, each line, each composition. Through drawing and painting, Alexander captures the savage beauty and heroic martyrdom of the natural world, as well as the darker side of human endeavor. His work is not art for art’s sake, but art for humanity’s sake—a cautionary tale of an impending environmental apocalypse and a reminder of what might be lost.

In July of 2019, Tayloe Piggott Gallery, in Jackson Hole, will mount the first solo exhibition in Wyoming of this master American painter. With a career that has moved from “the bad boy of Texas art” to celebrated master of American figurative painting, Alexander has maintained a strong voice in the contemporary art dialogue for more than four decades. He has had major retrospectives at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and has been the subject of celebrated exhibitions at the Meadows Museum and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. His work is included in the permanent collections of leading institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, D.C.; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as well as many other public and private collections worldwide. As an educator, he can count artists such as Julian Schnabel and Sharon Kopriva as students. He is the recent recipient of an honorary doctorate of fine art from the New York Academy of Art, a lifetime achievement award from Guild Hall, and an Opus Award from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. He currently divides his time between studios in SoHo, Manhattan, and Amagansett, Long Island.

For more information on the exhibition, New Works, please contact Tayloe Piggott Gallery at art@tayloepiggottgallery.com or by calling
(307) 733-0555.