Tomorrow, December 20, the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) opens the first major, full-scale retrospective encompassing the artist’s three-decade career.
John Alexander (b. 1945), says Eleanor Harvey SAAM’s chief curator, "has a passion for paint." His paintings are a bright profusion of energy and vitality, many of them laced with humor and irony.
In his 1989 "Venus and Adonis," a naked couple is in bed; each figure is backlit by a strange, eerie blaze that threatens to engulf them. They are either engaged in a heated argument or consumed by a fiery passion. Is this a disintegrating marriage or a dangerous liaison?
The titles of his works on paper are subtly narrative. A gnarled vulture casts a dazed glance at the viewer. The work is entitled "Aging Rock Star." Is it a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Keith Richards?