De Wain Valentine

September 5, 2012

De Wain Valentine’s natural surroundings have always been a dominant influence in his work: “In Colorado, I had a love affair with the clouds and mountains. When I moved to California, the smog became a substance, and the quality of light had a body to it that was just thrilling.” Upon arriving in Venice Beach in 1965, he immediately wanted to create sculpture that would embody the sea and the sky, as if he sliced a chunk straight from the landscape. To achieve the pristine surfaces and monumental size of his sculptures, he teamed up with the Hastings Plastics Company in Santa Monica to design his own polyester resin. The resulting work put him at the forefront of the Finish Fetish movement in the 1960s. Referring to the intense industrial processes Valentine utilized, Larry Bell commented, “De Wain was doing stuff that had never been done before, inventing techniques that were unheard of.” He was “absolutely fearless” and poised to work with any material that would achieve his aesthetic vision. Since the late 70s, Valentine has been working with glass to create sculptures and large fountains. Like the impetus behind his cast resin discs and columns, glass and water have given him the ability to exploit the idea of “transparent colored space.” In addition to a major exhibition of his monolithic sculpture Grey Column (1975-76) at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Valentine’s sculptures reside in the permanent collections of the San Diego Museum of Art, the Denver Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“Gray Column.” Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012.
“L.A. Art Scene.” Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012.
Learner, Tom. From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 2011. Print.
Valentine, De Wain. Telephone interview. 15 Aug. 2012.

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