DeWain Valentine (American, born 1936)

DeWain Valentine (American, born 1936)

Double Pyramid, 1968

Cast polyester resin

Gift of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 2011, and gift of the Lannan Foundation (TCM.1997.44.2)


DeWain Valentine is associated with the Los Angeles Light and Space movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He is best known for his translucent cast colored-resin and laminated-glass sculptures, atypical media at the time that soon became popular in the subset movement within Light and Space known as Finish Fetish.

Valentine’s childhood experiences scavenging for and polishing different kinds of rocks in Colorado, coupled with his time working in boat shops, developed his interest in reflective surfaces, translucence, and industrial processes. Valentine read about the emerging Los Angeles art scene and moved there in 1965 to work as an artist, having his first solo exhibition in 1968. Like other artists of the Light and Space movement, Valentine was influenced by Southern California’s seascapes and skies, custom-car culture, and surfboards. An early pioneer of using industrial plastics, resin, and fiberglass, he became known for abstract minimal and geometric sculptures that reflect and refract light and interact with the space that surrounds them.

Double Pyramid is a classic example of the artist’s desire to manipulate light through cast polyester resin. The influence of Finish Fetish is evident in the seamless, pristine-looking surface. Two pyramid shapes are attached at their respective bases, never allowing the work to sit flush; instead, it must sit on one of the sides. This allows light to shine through the entire piece from multiple angles, changing the viewer’s experience from every perspective.