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Parting Shot: Donald Alter 

click to enlarge Spiral Line
  • Spiral Line

Donald Alter is one of few remaining people still alive who attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina, the experimental art school founded in 1933. Black Mountain served as a safe haven during and after World War II for refugee-artists seeking a creative atmosphere and incubated such talents as Buckminster Fuller, Robert Creeley, Arthur Penn, and John Cage. Alter enrolled in 1948 and studied painting with German artist Josef Albers.

Alter moved to New York City in the 1950s, where he worked as a textile designer for 40 years. At 65, he left the commercial art world and returned to painting, retiring to the Hudson Valley.

Alter's work is largely characterized by bright colors, sharp angles, and layered lines that deepen in complexity. Recently, instead of using canvas, he started created whimsical "doodle" paintings overlaying the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. He claims this artistic stance helps him access his inner caveman—the desire to leave traces of his work on different surfaces—like cave paintings.

Donald Alter's work will be on display at Gallery 66 in Cold Spring from April 1 through May 1. An opening reception will be held on Friday, April 1, from 6 to 9pm. (845) 809-5838; Gallery66ny.com.

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