Herb Alpert has spent more than half his life as a respected abstract expressionist painter and sculptor, whose work has been exhibited from the US, Europe and Asia. Since he began painting in 1969, Alpert has experimented with a number of different styles and materials. Alpert’s sculptures, particularly his towering Black Spirit Totems series, draw interest with their freedom of form and massive size, with some bronze pieces reaching 18 feet in height. The totems were inspired by indigenous sculptural forms from the Pacific Northwest.
Though Alpert’s work as an abstract expressionist painter has been inspired by a number of different sources over the years, critics noted the obvious influences of American abstract expressionists, as well as the painters of the School of Paris in the 50’s. Yet Alpert cites his single greatest influence as Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, whose work first sparked his interest in painting in 1963.
Alpert’s paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US, Europe and Asia including: Art Cologne, Art Fair Basel, Galerie Frank Haenel, Germany, Galerie Van der Planken, Belgium, Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, Pasadena Museum of California Art, MB Modern, New York City, Ace Gallery, Beverly Hills, Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, ACA Gallery, New York City, Heather James Galleries in Palm Desert, St. Louis, New York and Jackson Hole and the Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace. His work is also in the permanent collections at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, the Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, St. Louis and nine Black Totems at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Herb Alpert’s philosophy as an artist has generally been to create from a purely internal place; “the feel,” as he calls it. “For art to appear,” Alpert likes to say, “the artist must disappear.” Creativity is Alpert’s staff of life. Whether its music, painting or sculpture, he launches in headfirst, a soloist, rolling to a rhythm he feels inside, searching for the “feel.” “When I paint or sculpt,” he says, “I sometimes start with an idea, but it usually morphs into something I didn’t expect. I’m looking for that feel and form that touches me and when I find it…I stop.” In 2012, Herb Alpert received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama for his contributions to music and fine arts.