Artist John Alexander

(b. 1945) John Alexander is a world renowned artist whose works pays tribute to the rich tradition of painters throughout the history of art. His early works were primarily semi-abstract landscapes, and later, dense, expressionistic paintings. His more recent drawings and paintings include birds, plants and animals (often those native to Texas and the Southern Gulf Coast states), and satirical works of characters and masked figures representing the most dysfunctional members of society.

Alexander received an art degree from Lamar in 1968 and an MFA degree from SMU. He taught at the University of Houston in the 70s, then moved to New York where he began to make his mark on the art world. He was awarded a Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1981 and another by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1984.

Alexander had a major retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2007. His work is included in the permanent collections of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A.; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont. In 2015, Lamar University named the painting studio in the art building, The John Alexander Painting Studio.


John Alexander - Night Garden

Night Garden

Year: 2005
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Dishman Art Musuem (Permanent Collection)
John Alexander - Davy Jones Locker

Davy Jones Locker

Year: 1987
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Rudy Williams Bldg, John Gray Center, Ste. 122

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Stuart.
This massive 90” x 100” expressionistic painting, filled with an assortment of fish, sea grasses and a skull, is the largest of several undersea works Alexander painted in the late 1980s. The Smithsonian has one of the others.
Searching for Evangeline by John Alexander

Searching for Evangeline

Year: 2018
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Science and Technology Building North Lobby
Alexander painted this work for an exhibition at Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans. He selected an image and title that would appeal to those who live in and visit one of his favorite cities. The great egret is a bird commonly seen throughout the southeastern states, particularly in swampy areas such as New Orleans and Beaumont. The title references the legend of Evangeline made famous in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1847. The poem describes a young Evangeline and her lover who were expelled from their homeland and separated from one another on their wedding day. Although the poem is fictional, the story took on a life of its own after Felix Voorhies wrote a 1907 novelette entitled: Acadian Reminiscences: The True Story of Evangeline. The Cajun people adopted the story as part of their culture, and the name Evangeline is frequently found in Louisiana art, music, stores and food brands.

LU alumnus John Alexander talks about what inspires his art, some of his art work that is at Lamar University, and about his time as a student.