DeWain Valentine (1936)
DeWain Valentine is an American Minimalist sculptor, born in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1936. Frequently associated with the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, he is especially known for his minimalist sculptures in translucent glass (ex.: Diamond Column), fibreglass, and modelled polyester resin (ex.: Double Pyramid). The surfaces are so smooth they recall machine-made objects. The translucent shades vary according to the light.
Valentine worked in boating shops when he began to make his first works in plastic (which he tried unsuccessfully to exhibit in New York). In ArtForum magazine he discovered the work of artists such as Larry Bell, Craig Kauffmann, and Kenneth Price, and thus set off for Los Angeles in 1965. His first solo-exhibition took place at Ace Gallery in 1968.
Influenced by the sea and skies of Southern California, which he described as a ‘coloured, transparent space’, Valentine is a true pioneer in the utilisation of industrial plastics and resin in order to produce monumental sculptures in a single block, which reflect and manipulate the surrounding light and space. For him, a smooth surface is the ultimate goal of his work, and he wants it to remain intact. While teaching technology of plastic at University of California, Los Angeles, he sought to produce a polyester resin suitable for large volumes and which would not crack during the drying process. He thus began a collaboration with Ed Revay, chemical engineer of PPG Industries, and together they discovered in 1966 ‘Valentine MasKast Resin’. Very stable in composition, it can exceed the previously impassable limit of 50 pounds. In 1989, Valentine designed the trophies for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.
Valentine thus became a leader in the Light and Space movement of Los Angeles, alongside the artists he previously admired in the 1960s. He is notably distinguished by his profound knowledge of synthetic materials and his ability to transform these industrial products into works of art, which reveal his fascination with light, transparency, reflection, and surface. In addition to synthetic materials he also used glass, stone, bronze, and steel.
Valentine’s works can be found in many prestigious public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena), the Honolulu Museum of Art (Hawaii), and the San Diego Museum of Art (California).
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Art works from DeWain Valentine
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