Published by Marquand Books. Text by Dave Hickey, Ed Schad, David Pagel, John Yau.
Los Angeles painter Albert Contreras (born 1933) first won public acclaim in the early 1960s, with monochrome paintings featuring a central disc motif. By the early 1970s, with the “dematerialization of art” in the air, Contreras’ pursuit of extreme reduction led him to cease painting altogether, and he spent the next two decades driving garbage trucks and resurfacing roads for the City of Los Angeles. He returned to painting in 1997 (following an intensive period of psychotherapy), producing relatively small, square-ish canvases with thick, gridded swathes of bright colors and glitter, seemingly inspired by the aesthetics of cupcake bakeries, cosmetics counters and custom car shops--canvases that critic David Pagel describes as “obscenely edible.” This first substantial Contreras monograph surveys the painter’s recent and older works.