Herb Alpert: The Coffee Paintings
Heather James Fine Art presents an exclusive online exhibition of coffee paintings by renowned Jazz musician and visual artist Herb Alpert. Most known as the leader of the Tijuana Brass, selling over 72 million records as well as racking up 14 platinum albums and 9 Grammy Awards, Alpert has spent more than half his life as a visual artist.
The exhibition takes a concentrated look at a unique series within his wider body of work. These paintings are created with coffee. Utilizing the material’s properties, Alpert creates fluid works that dance across the surface of the canvas. There is also a subtle symbolic link – the coffee evoking cafes and coffeehouses where one might listen to jazz. In this way, the series of paintings recall many of our senses – visual, aural, tactile, taste, smell.
The series has a sweet origin story. Alpert noted, “I wanted to get my organic conscious daughter a housewarming gift and thought about painting something with organic coffee. Not only did I have fun, it opened up a new door for expressing myself.”
Utilizing the stylistic language of Abstract Expressionism, which was the dominant artist movement when Alpert began painting, Alpert creates dialogues between both music and painting. The artworks are filled with sensuous designs as if improvised, a single moment captured like a snippet of jazz made corporeal.
His works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. His recent shows at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, and Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, explore Alpert’s sculptures. These monumental works, known as ‘Spirit Totems’, are at once familiar and awe-inspiring. Alpert also participated in the inaugural Art Macao in 2019 in Wynn Macau’s “Garden of Earthly Delight”. A forest of Alpert’s sculptures along with Alpert’s video rendition of Puttin’ on the Ritz blossom into a garden of optical and acoustical delight.
Since 1969, he has infused his works with an expressionist freedom of movement. In this exhibition, his recent paintings speak to his continuing pictorial evolution and exploration of form, color, and process. At the same time, the works stay true to Alpert’s own unique perspective. As he notes, “The hardest part as an artist in any art form, is to find your own voice. Honesty is the running thread of all good artists.”