Alex Stenzel is a German-American visual artist, former top European fashion designer, product designer, conceptual architect, German cult figure, former fashion model, raw food chef, yoga teacher, polymath and multi-athlete( 44 different sports) who had a world ranking in three different sports: tennis (1983 ITF Junior World Ranking No.33), mountain-bike (1987 Grundig Mountain-Bike World Cup Challenge Kaprun No.30) and triathlon (1986 Ironman Triathlon World Championships Kona, Hawaii).
In 2006 as an artist of extra ordinary ability Stenzel was granted permanent resident status by the United States Immigration and now lives and works in the Eastern Sierras in Bishop, California. He is best known for his unique style of large format Overpainted-Photgraphs of weathered objects and abstract paintings. His exhibits have been featured on the cover of the L.A. Biennial Catalog and reviewed by Peter Frank in the L.A. Weekly as “Art Picks Of The Week”. Huffington Post art critique, Bruce Helander, in his 2002 Palm Beach Times Review writes, “A pioneering foot pushing apart a theatrical curtain that has been opened for the first time.” Stenzel is also know as designer and model for his surf-wear inspired clothing line Broken Glasses Sportswear, his conceptual architecture, the B1BE-Tower and his outrageous cult sandwich, the Gorilla Sandwich.
Stenzel was born in Recklinghausen, Westphalia and grew up in Oer-Erkenschwick, a small coal-mining town on the northern fringe of the Ruhrgebiet, the largest industrial area of Europe. Stenzel spent his early childhood years on and around the property of his family’s business, a gristmill, climbing trees and the rooftops of warehouses, behind his home. He spent the summers at the local water and adventure park, Stimberg Park where his grandfather taught him how to swim and how to do a swan dive. At age ten he won the city championships in Oer-Erkenschwick, in his age division, in the 50 meter freestyle swimming and was doing a swan dive, standing, sitting and running from the 10 meter platform. During regular winter vacation to the Swiss Alps, his father a businessmen and active sportsmen, taught Stenzel, at age five, how to ski. At home Stenzel played roller hockey on squad skates, with a field hockey stick that one of his dad’s friends gave him. Stenzel also enjoyed skateboarding. Twelve years old, in 1977 he placed No.12 in the annual Skateboard Cup on the Island of Sylt.
In the mid 1980s Stenzel was a prominent German fashion designer who made his first million with his clothing line “Broken Glasses Sportswear”, designing surf wear inspired men’s clothing. The breakthrough for Stenzel came when he decided to become his own “poster boy”, featuring himself in advertisements, wearing baggy Broken Glasses pants, not wearing a shirt and showing of his abs. Vogue Magazine listed Stenzel amongst Europe’s Fashion Elite, alongside Jochen Holy, founder of Hugo Boss. Between 1986-1989, Broken Glasses Sportswear sold at nearly all high-end sportswear boutiques in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and was one of Europe’s top fashion labels.
Stenzel played professional open men tennis as a junior from 1982-1983. He started playing tennis in 1976 at the TG-Hüls, tennis club in Marl. In 1979 Stenzel wins the Dr.-Karl-Köhle-Wartburginsel-Pokaltunier in the final against club mate Karsten Braasch. In 1982 along side the Bulgarian player Lazarove, Stenzel in an 128 draw, was in the semifinals in the Junior 18 doubles, at the Rolex International Junior Tennis Championships in Port Washington, New York the final event on the International Tennis Federation‘s major junior schedule to determine world rankings. Frank Hammond who was the referee of the semifinal match, suggested at the Rolex Cup, for Stenzel, age 16 to be invited to play the all sponsored South American ITF Junior Circuit which was taking place in eight South American countries: Caracas(Venezuela), Bogota(Colombia), Lima(Peru), La Paz(Bolivia), Santiago(Chile, Montevideo(Uruguay), Buenos Aires(Argentina) , Asuncion(Paraguay). In Bogota, Colombia Stenzel played Martin Jaite 4:6,3:6. In March 1983, Stenzel ranked No. 33, in the ITF Junior World Ranking, Boys Singles 18. At age sixteen Stenzel signed with the German tennis club RV Castrop Rauxel in Castrop-Rauxel Westphalia and played Regionalliga, then the second highest league for mens tennis in Germany. Stenzel trained with Lennart Bergelin, Harry Hopman and Bob Brett.
Stenzel who has learned 44 different sports is an expert in 20 of them: tennis, triathlon, mountain-bike, surfing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, rock-climbing, skateboarding, windsurfing, barefoot skiing, waterski slalom, badminton, squash, table tennis, long distance running, trail running, open water swimming, road bicycle racing, high diving and teaching yoga. Stenzel had a world ranking in: tennis(1983 ITF Junior World Ranking No.33), mountain-bike(1987 Grundig Mountain-Bike World Cup Challenge Kaprun No.30), triathlon(1986 Ironman Triathlon World Championships Kona, Hawaii).
Between 1985-1990, at the same time, while running his company Broken Glasses Sportswear Stenzel lived out of his Volkswagen van that was loaded with sports equipment. He traveled through Europe regularly as a multi-athlete to ski, water ski, barefoot-ski, and surf and windsurf, and to race mountain-bikes. The gear that Stenzel had on board his van included: two skateboards, a mono-fin, swim & diving goggles, a snorkel, two skimboards, a Swingbo(early snowboard),three wind-surf boards, six windsurf sails, three windsurf-masts, two surf boards, five kites, a pair of skies, ice-skates, a mountain-bike, climbing gear, slalom water skies, jump water skies, a trick water ski, five tennis rackets, a badminton racket, a squash racket, a table tennis racket, a throwing knife, a set of throwing darts, a pool cue, clothing and books. The van was equipped with a small shower, a stove, a fridge, and a diesel run heater, a pioneer stereo system and a video player. Even when at home Stenzel slept in his van, parked in front of his parents or girl friends house. In the winter he would take showers inside the house, and with only a towel wrapped around his waste he often would walk barefoot, through the snow, back to his van to get dressed. He didn’t like to live in a house and preferred to be on the road. He was a born nomad. Sports and creativity always went hand in hand for Stenzel and formed a productive and symbiotic relationship through out his life. Stenzel is self-taught in all sports, except for tennis. Tennis coaches he trained with were: Lennard Bergelin, Harry Hopman and Bob Brett
Tennis (1983 ITF Junior World Ranking No.33)
Mountain-bike (1987 Grundig Mountain-Bike World Cup Challenge Kaprun No.30)
Triathlon (1986 Ironman Triathlon World Championships Kona, Hawaii)
- Alpine Skiing (all mountain, backcountry and moguls)
- Snowboarding(all mountain and half-pipe)
- Rock-Climbing (5.12b sport)
- Windsurfing ( jumps and duck dives)
- Barefoot Skiing (one foot)
- Skateboarding (handstand)
- Yoga (teacher)
- Qi-Gong (Baduanjin qigong, Eight-Section Brocade)
- Long Distance Running (Marathon)
- Trail Running
- Open Water Swimming
- Road Bicycle Racing
- High Diving (15 meter, swan dive)
- Slalom Water Skiing (6 buoys, slalom course, 58 kilometers per hour)
- Flying Kites
- Table tennis
- Pool billiard
- Knife Throwing
- Monkey Rings
- Water ski-Jumping
- Water Ski-Trick
- Water Ski-Surfing
- Water Ski-Skimboarding (behind a quad, along the shore, on the skim)
- Throwing Darts
- Water Ski Disc
- Bungee Jumping [Bloukrans Bridge Bungy(709FT), South Africa]
- Snowboarding (behind a car)
- Snowboarding (with a Swingbo)
- Skiing behind a snowmobile
Stenzel has played tennis in: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Norway, Belgium, France, Spain, United States, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.
Stenzel has skied in Europe: Lech am Arlberg, Zürs, Zermatt, St.Moritz, Les Trois Vallées, Méribel, Courchevel, Verbier, Livigno, Portes du Soleil, Chamonix, Gstaad and Saas-Fee and in the United States: Los Angeles, Mammoth, Aspen, Telluride and Valdez.
Stenzel has surfed in: Germany, England, France, Spain, Portugal, California, Hawaii, Florida, North Carolina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Western Samoa, Tahiti, East & West Australia.
Modeling, Acting And Writing
Stenzel who had mainly modeled for his own label Broken Glasses Sportswear met with Herb Ritts, in 1991 in Los Angeles, and signed with Hero’s Model Management in Hollywood. Stenzel took acting classes at Howard Fine Acting Studio, wrote screenplays and poetry, and in 1995 Stenzels’ poem “Intergalatic Love Letter From A Travelling Soul” was selected as a semi-finalist in the 1995 North American Open Poetry Contest, held by The National Library of Poetry and was published in the anthology “Windows of the Soul”.
Product Design & Development
At age 9, Stenzel unknowingly made his first invention, a wind-skate sail built from aluminium pipes and a plastic tarp. He skateboarded with it along the windy dike roads on the North Sea island of Sylt. In the early eighties he was one of the first to experiment with kites for surfing. Tied to the back of his van, and held up by five kites, he would swing 30 feet above ground. Then, pulled by these kites, he would ice skate across frozen lakes in winter and be dragged through water in the summer.
Stenzel owns over two dozen patents, trademarks and copyrights in fields as widely ranging as fashion, general gift items, computer accessories, food products, architectural designs, screenplays, workout programs, Internet technology, social media concepts, interior design, sports equipment, music, architectural designs, art and poetry. In 2004, Stenzel was granted the only known patent, issued by the USPO, for the redesign of an unprocessed whole vegetable or fruit, a cucumber, namely a cucumber sandwich. It was marketed under the trademark Gorilla Sandwich and sold at all prominent health food stores and Whole Food Markets in Los Angeles and is licensed by B1-BE Design. “I only tip my hat to true innovations—those deemed patentable by the supreme beings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office…Like this beauty, the Cucumber Sandwich…I salute Alexander and his unprecented use of a cucumber: It’s simple, it’s elegant, and it’s fashion model-friendly, writes Daniel at Patent Silly.
Modern Nomad & German Cult Figure & Tantric Yoga
Between 1994-2001 Stenzel traveled extensively and in 1999 Stenzel, the artist, becomes a German cult figure, known for his innovative and unconventional lifestyle, of working and traveling. At the time Stenzel was traveling the globe with only three bags, creating art and selling it via the Internet. He was portrayed as a visionary and neo nomad at the vanguard of a new cultural movement. He was featured on the cover page of “Die Zeit”, documented in German TV, “RTL” and “WDR” and is the main character in Gurdula Englischs’ book “Arbeit in Bewegung”. (working while moving).
Stenzel has visited every continent and been to: Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Monaco, Luxemburg, United Kingdom, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fidji, American & Western Samoa, Korea, Japan and Thailand.
During his travels Stenzel spent much time in Australia and Africa and studied native religions and rituals. Much of what he had experienced and understood became the foundation for his art. Places of particular interest for Stenzels’ energetic studies were: Carnac (France), Great Zimbabwe(Zimbabwe), Uluru(Central Australia), Jarrah Forest(Western Australia), Japanese Zen Gardens(Kyoto), Pulemelei Mound( Savai, Samoa), (Tikal) Guatemala, Fareaitu Marae (Moorea Tahiti), Sedona, Santa Monica Mountains and the Tablelands(Eastern Sierra Nevada, California).
Near Uluru, in Central Australia, as Stenzel went on walkabouts, he learned to identify song lines and other high vibrational and sacred locations. He has identified similar energetic properties in many locations around the world and continues to incorporate them into his tantric inspired yoga practice.
Internet Technology & Social Media
In 1999, five years before “Facebook”, four years before “Myspace”, three years before “Second World” and six years before “Youtube”, Stenzel envisioned a concept for a social media platform, a website where users would upload their content in form of video footage, photo images, text and sound. In his copyright application from 1999, Stenzel writes, “FFMI is an interactive Internet channel, a web side that shows videos, photo images, text and plays sounds send in by its members.”
In 2000 Stenzel builds upon his vision, and created a first concept for a technology and business model that featured a 3 D multi-user virtual reality world which wasn’t a game, but simulated a real world living in a fantasy setting. It was similar to Second Life, which made its first debut three years later in 2003. Given the limited bandwidth at the time Stenzel build unique design features, into the program, that would allow avatars to travel via wormholes and between locations, without interruptions of the 3D experience. Revenues were to be generated through virtual objects, sponsored by advertisers. Avatars would be able to put products into their “Rooms” and make use of them otherwise. Stenzel named it B1BE-3D Email, which was a users login information for the website, which provided an online presence. B1BE-3D was designed to be a platform that principally featured a 3D-based user-generated content. Unlike traditional computer games it didn’t have designated objectives, nor traditional game play mechanics or rules. Stenzel described an online virtual reality world where users would create virtual representations of themselves, called avatars and where they were able to interact with other avatars, places and objects. Avatars could walk around locations, knock on doors, enter another’s avatar’s room, choose their environments, build their houses, decorate their rooms, with virtual real world objects, have virtual TVs, turntables to play music, and show videos and have a wall to put pictures on. Avatars could find new land and invite friends to occupy it. Locations were widely ranging from glaciers, to coral reef, icebergs, rain forests, skyscrapers, caves, cities, islands, trees, leaves and mountaintops. Avatars would be able to lounge together, at each other’s habitat and have a chat. Avatars could own keys that unlock doors and would let them enter other avatars habitats. Avatars would perform rituals such as hugging and thereby exchanging fingerprints. Avatars would travel through worm wholes to other worlds using magic wands. Avatars could be put on a black list and be banned from opening doors. Avatars were able to observe layers in the universe and see when and where new galaxies and stars were born and could become the first to occupy the new virtual worlds.
Stenzels’ early concepts forecasted many of the features that were realized three years later, in 2003 in Second Life that was created by Philip Rosedale and Linden Lab. Although Stenzel wasn’t familiar with the “Metaverse” of Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash, he was interested in ideas like: cyberpunk, global village, virtual reality, smart drugs, mind gyms and isolation tanks. Stenzel regularly read Mondo and Wired Magazine, went to the Burningman festival in 1997 and was inspired by utopian visions for a virtual global village.
In November 1999 Stenzel designed an architectural concept, for a twisted tower that featured a tilted spire. It was the first of it’s kind. He named it the B1BE-Tower. It fused Stenzels’ original concepts for the B1BE-Interactive-Internet-Channel, the B1BE-Social Media platform and the virtual reality world, with an actual structure, a media tower that would function as one gigantic screen, divided into multiple facets and showing footage that could be uploaded by it’s users to a website. Stenzel vision was to turn the Internet inside out, merging the real world and the virtual world. He created six variations of the original designed twisted tower. In 2002 Stenzel adapted his design for a 9/11 memorial and submitted it to the Lower Manhattan Developing Corporation.
…his complex and ambitious proposal for a 9/11 Ground Zero memorial demonstrates, he is sensitive to the political movement…, writes Peter Frank in his L.A. Weekly 2002 “Art Picks of the Week”.
The first design was submitted on April 9th, 2002 for a memorial one year prior to the official public competition. (LETTER 1). Stenzel received two letters from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation one from Alexander Garvin, vice-present for planning, design, and development dated, June 3rd, 2002 and one from Kevin Rampe, executive vice president and general counsel dated July 26th, 2002. Both letter stated that Stenzel proposed design would not be considered for the rebuilding efforts in and around the World Trade Center site. In December 2002, Daniel Libeskind won the invitational competition to develop a plan for the new tower. Daniel Libeskinds‘ design also featured an off-center spire and a twisted tower, very similar to Stenzels’ architectural concept, less the multi media function. At the end in 2005, a design by David Child was chosen and most of Libeskinds elements were scrapped. However the two main features original envisioned by Stenzel, in 1999 and proposed in 2002, were still present in the One World Trade Center and are still present as it stands today. In 2003 Stenzel submitted another variation, of his original design, that was adapted for the official Memorial Competition in 2003, held by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
“In 1999, Alex conceived an interactive sculpture for Berlin, ‘B1-Be Tower No. 1’. It was one the earliest designs for a modern ‘twisted’ tower structure…After 9/11, a year before the competition, he wrote a letter t the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, proposing to use the idea for a memorial…”, writes Lester J. Levine in his book “9/11 Memorial Visions”, published in 2016, a collection of two hundred innovative and still up to date designs.
Today close to a dozen “Twisted Towers” have been built around the world. But Stenzels’ design for the B1BE-Tower was the first known concept for a twisted structure.
In 1996 Stenzel is drawn to the visual arts. Without any formal education, self-taught as he was in all of his occupations, and having been an autodidact throughout life, Stenzel teaches himself how to paint and begins exploring the new medium. Having worked as a designer, for fifteen years in the fields of fashion design, product design, graphic design, and conceptual architecture Stenzel now was looking for more creative freedom. He spent afternoons in the Beverly Hills Library browsing through art books, feeling out what kind of art he was attracted to. He was putting together lists of his favored artist and art movements and studied them thoroughly. Additionally he visited galleries and museums in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin, and Tokyo. He took likings to romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and his painted ruins; German Expressionists’ sharp lines, found in Franc Marcs’ and Meidners’ work; expressionistic brush strokes found in Franz Kline’s work; Pollocks’ textures; Rothkos color fields and Diebenkorns’ landscapes. Stenzel wasn’t fond of art that presented literal subject matter and found conceptual art too much of an intellectual pursuit, which he thought was compromising the freedom and immediate experience of art itself. Sculptures and installations were often to stiff and staged for Stenzels’ taste. Stenzel was drawn to the intensity and pureness of color, the freedom of painting abstract forms and the feeling of brushing paint onto the canvas. In 1997 Stenzel starts seeing beauty in weathered artifacts, such as rusted fences and broken windows. It stirred up romantic feelings in him, similar to the ruins found in romantic paintings. He begins photographing them in abstract ways. At the same time he studied Japanese Zen Gardens, early rock art and the rituals of the Australian aboriginals, in the outback and how they interpreted patterns in their landscape. “Stenzel artwork is inspired by a deeply spiritual experiences in the Aboriginal Australian Outback. When he was surrounded by intense color, vast scales and sublime rock formations, something that Stenzel had always felt revealed itself on a much deeper level,” it says, in the 2001, Coleman Gallery press release. Not satisfied with just the photographs by themselves Stenzel glued them to canvases and painted over them with thick bold brush strokes. He named the paintings “Fractals” according to Mandelbrot’s theory on chaos. Stenzel had studied extensively Charles Harrison & Paul Woods’ book “Art in Theory” and was well aware of the criticisms that had been posed by Greenberg and Fried, regarding painting, working in the two dimensional realm and dealing with illusory space as a whole. Stenzel also had studied various scientific theories on vision, and was familiar with philosophical thoughts on the subject. He understood that the self was a subjective construct, which included space and time and he thought that the objections made by the critics were justified. Stenzel also, just like Greenberg, felt that three-dimensional illusory space was negating the actual object, the canvas, which was the only substance, along with the actual paint, available to the painter. A remark made by the 17th century philosopher George Berkley stood out for Stenzel: “we don’t see shape and space but we feel them.” It became clear for Stenzel, that the criticism wasn’t just a dilemma limited to a specific medium, such as painting, nonetheless justified, but it was related to the laws of “self” and how it constructed itself and therefore space and time. Stenzel, when seventeen years old, had read Immanuel Kants’, thoughts, in his “Critique of Pure Reason” on “aesthetics”. He remembered that it was dealing with space and time and apriori conditions that Kant called intuitions. Kants’ writings had always appealed to Stenzel, in a way a beautiful painting speaks to once soul. Everything had its place and nothing could be replaced. When sentences were wordy and complicated there was reason for it. Kant, unlike most of philosophy that came after him, didn’t make things more complicated or lacked the ability to tie together complex subject matter. For Stenzel it was clear that the world of philosophy still stood on his shoulders. Space and time are existential question which couldn’t be answered by science and if he wanted to gain a deeper understanding of space and time he needed to look at Kants’ writings again. One can not understand art without understanding existence, he thought.
Believing that he had come to grasps with things and knowing what to avoid, as a painter, working with illusory space, in the two dimensional realm, Stenzel went on to experiment with different mediums. Between 1997-2000 Stenzel produced oil paintings, collages, pastels, sketches, transparent photos, glued to light boxes, and Overpainted-Photographs. He dripped paint on photographs, scratched them, brushed paint over them, and rolled paint onto them. Stenzel tried nearly every possible thing to merge the detail found in photography with the tactility and energy of color. He created mostly Overpainted Photographs-Fractals (photos of weathered objects), but Stenzel also created a body of work of Overpainted Photographs-Fairies(photos of faces). He staged woman, wearing abstract cardboard cut outs, wrapped in tin foil and their faces painted, with bold lines of make up and set against abstract, colorful painted backgrounds. He then photographed the staged settings, printed the images as large format C-prints, glued them to canvases and painted over them. Stenzel divides his work into three categories: Forms, Fractals and Fairies. Forms, depict abstract painted female bodies; Fractals, abstract painted landscapes and abstract Overpainted Photographs of weathered objects; and Fairies, abstract faces of woman, and Overpainted Photographs of mainly female faces with strange eyes.
In 2001 in a solo exhibition, as part of the L.A. Biennial, at the Colemen Gallery, in Hollywood, Stenzel showed a new style of Overpainted Photogaphs-Fractals. Instead of the loose bold brush strokes, as seen in his earlier Overpainted Photographs, Stenzel now had layered solid and transparent color fields over his photographs. In some sections there was no paint at all and the glossy surface of the photograph could clearly be seen. Other photographs were thwarted with thick straight brush strokes, often in black and brown. Some photographs were painted over and sandwiched between Plexiglas, which also was painted. Other works exhibited were: three acrylic paintings, a transparent photograph glued to a light box and a photograph of a weathered fence, diasec mounted to Plexiglas. All works had one thing in common: the surfaces of the paintings or Overpainted Photographs and photographs were divided into three proportional distinct rectangular fields; two sections were forming an unequal one-sided L-shape, at the edge of the painting or Overpainted Photograph; the other rectangular field, which was larger, was on the inside, next to the one sided L-shape; it was either a color field, or an Overpainted Photograph or a photograph; Plexiglas pieces had just a clear Plexiglas L-shape, on one side of their edge; all three fields were connected with one unifying top layer, either straight lines or, a transparent color field. The title of the exhibit was “105.000 tons“. Stenzel had come to the conclusion that tactility was equal to the perception of weight, and the title for the exhibit was the symbolic sum, of the combined weight, of all works in the exhibit. “A new visual language surfaces at the Absolute L.A. International.” writes Huffington Post art critic Bruce Helander , in his Palm Beach Times Review.
Stenzel thought that he had found a way to work with illusory space, in the two dimensional realm, without that it could flee the support (canvas, paper or photograph). It was the very thing the critics had cautioned about. But for Stenzel it was not necessary to eliminate illusory space entirely, like it can be seen in Pollocks’ paintings. Stenzel’s layers, lines and fields were able to tie illusory space down, leave it intact and have it hover behind a “veil of color” and juxtaposed. Painting didn’t have to be limited to it’s own medium. Stenzel technique allowed him to merge photography with painting. Stenzel had lifted some of the limitations from the history of painting, but still didn’t quite understand why.
The year following Stenzel spent much time in his Pacific Palisades Studio reflecting upon his work. He dedicates much time comparing different pieces from his “105.000 tons” series. Overpainted Photographs 6 tons, 7.5 tons, 9 tons, 10 tons, and 11 tons became the main focus of his studies. 10 tons, one of the Overpainted Photographs, which was also featured on the cover of the L.A. Biennial Catalog, received most of Stenzel attention.
In 2002 Stenzel produced a new body of work of Overpainted Photographs. It was exhibited in another solo exhibition at the Don O’Melveny Gallery in Los Angeles. Although similar in style, Stenzel now had swapped paint, applied by hand, for mechanically printed ink. The “Overpainted Photographs” had become C-prints that were diasec mounted against Plexiglas. Stenzel had continued, dividing the surface into three distinct rectangular fields, layering solid and transparent color fields over the photographs, juxtaposing them next to each other and leaving some sections unpainted. The photographs were still of weathered objects. But now all was printed and the color fields were created digitally. Stenzel had already incorporated Plexiglas in works shown in the “105.000 tons series”: 15 tons, 25 tons, 2.5 tons and 5 tons . Yet in this body of wok Stenzel had achieved a greater unity of photography and painting. Photographs, Plexiglas and color; everything that Stenzel had experimented with in the past, was integrated in one inseparable, immediate experience. It was slick, it wasn’t raw anymore, it was an evolution and it was mature. It wasn’t better but it was a push forward into an unchartered realm. Art Critic Peter Frank writes in his L.A. Weekly, “Art Picks Of The Week” review, “There’s perceptual shifting going on, too, in Alex Stenzels’ paintings and photographs and painting-photographs, but Stenzel’s approach involves little optrickery and a lot of more, er, traditional pictorial concerns: Gesture, composition, form and color contrast, collage, all those modernist factors that just won’t go away.”
Stenzel was convinced that he had discovered underlying principles of how we construct space and that his method was enhancing the “weight” of the two dimensional surface. But still, he was curious, why? Between 2002-2008 Stenzel continued his studies understanding space.
In 2009 Stenzel emerged briefly from his hiatus with an exhibit at Seyhoun Gallery, he named it “June Gloom” showing a combination of works: a series of trist black and white photographs of L.A. beaches, a self portrait and a series of abstract collages using foam board, Plexiglas, building materials and different colored insulation tape. The work exhibited was partially new work, and a retrospective of work shown earlier.