Palm Springs Modernism 2020 Show:
Fragments & Support
Alex Cutler & Betsy Alwin
February 7 to February 24, 2020
Reception: Saturday, Feb 8, 6-9 pm
Cutler and Alwin explore many facets of Modernism Design in this dual show.
Alex Cutler's portraits are fragments of feelings expressed through paint in application, style,
reference and form. These fragments, including mid-century furniture, suggest
the “sitters” multifaceted personality.
Betsy Alwin takes on the seeming fragility and definite stamina of Modernism Design
in her new work -- reflecting the iconic Breeze Blocks and Fustrom supports of
Modernist architecture in her porcelain lace sculpture.
"In this new series of paintings I’ve combined my love for the tradition of portrait painting with a
mission to explore a more spontaneous painting process.
The chair acts as a catalyst to invent a seated portrait with no actual sitter. This crux ignites an intuitive
series of decisions that capture the varying moods and mind states I bring to the studio.
The act of explorative painting in its many forms becomes the personality of the portrait.
I felt technically very liberated in this process, unbound by the objective of capturing a likeness,
it was about creating the right marks in the right places. The colors, application and
spirit of the painting were of utmost importance; an arm suddenly didn’t have to be an arm
it could be represented by the limb of a cactus or simply the color orange."
"The lace ceramic objects I make take the shape of tools, architectural components,
infrastructure and the human body. Porcelain, both a strong and delicate material, gives a
fragile feeling to these airy forms though they are capable of supporting themselves and the
weight of other materials. The dichotomy of strength and fragility presented by the
ceramic forms is an important conceptual component of my work.
Surface finish is also an important consideration. I choose to work with certain colors,
specifically blues, because they heighten the surface texture and porosity of the objects.
The blue against the porcelain body refers to the structural line-work of blueprint drawing
in one way and refer to the tradition of blue and white ceramic ware. As perforated
lace forms, they are brought forth to be experienced as delicate and textural.
Larger works incorporate flocked rebar, wood and cast rigid foam to create new
compositions. The introduction of natural and industrial materials creates context
for the ceramic forms that heighten the haptic experience of surface and texture. I like to play
with our common understanding of material knowledge. Rebar becomes fuzzy and limp;
anvils become squash-able foam. The playful compositions reflect my grappling
with sudden existential questions that arise at a time when life presents many contradictions,
confusions and misunderstandings. My work explores how I might convey a suspended
balance between assuredness and insecurity."