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De Wain Valentine is on view for a final week at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. The American minimalist sculptor is best known for his translucent glass, fiberglass, and cast polyester resin sculptures from the 1960s and 70s. The exhibition focuses on Valentine’s work with polyester resin and showcases the artist’s range and virtuosity. At the opening in June, Valentine spoke of growing up in Colorado and making the move to California in the mid-60s. “I grew up loving horses,” he said. “When I was a kid…I discovered drawing horses was very difficult, at least for me. I was in the city public library and I saw these old volumes hanging on the shelf and I picked one up and looked through it. There were beautiful drawings by Rubin, gorgeous nudes and I said, ‘To hell with horses!’”
The exhibition displays Valentine’s “columns” and “circles” sculptures. Both series encompass his experimentation with scale, color, and shape. Of his childhood in Fort Collins, Colorado, he said, “I grew up around my uncles, looking at how wonderful rocks were and that’s where I got the idea to work with resin and rocks.” Also influenced by the California landscape, Valentine was very interested in how light was reflected on the surface of his sculptures. The reflections appeared like pieces of the sky and ocean.
When the artist moved to California in the sixties, he met limitations with what he could achieve in the medium. Originally, the scale of poly-resin sculptures were restricted to 50 pounds. With Valentine’s determination, though, he managed to create towering sculptures, examples of which are in the Zwirner show. The gallery also produced a fully illustrated catalogue of Valentine’s work published for the exhibition.