John Alexander: A Retrospective
by Jane Livingston, Alison de Lima Greene (Contributor), Robert Hughes (Contributor), Museum Fine Arts Houston: January 2008, 240 pp. (hardcover)
This book presents three decades of artwork by John Alexander (b. 1945), who draws upon the rich imagery of his East Texas heritage to create art with a national impact. A native of Beaumont, a Gulf Coast oil and fishing-industry town, Alexander grew up in a region heavily influenced by Cajun, Creole, and African-American cultures. Early in his career, Alexander produced visionary landscapes and feverish, often self-revealing drawings that incorporated the imagery of the bayou. By the mid-1980s, the scale of his oil paintings had increased, and his landscapes had assumed a more hallucinatory character. The authors show how the artist’s frenetic expressionism gave way to an interest in figuration and narrative, and how his approach to genre painting gave voice to his outrage at social injustice. In tracing the evolution of Alexander’s work, the authors also explore the enduring theme of the natural environment and its depredation.