On View at the Getty Center: From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine's Gray Column
De Wain Valentine was one of several artists from Southern California who explored new materials being developed for industrial use in the post-World War II era. He used cast polyester resin to create stunning, large-scale sculptures in the 1960s and 1970s. Gray Column was one of the last polyester pieces he made. Towering at 12 feet high and weighing approximately five thousand pounds, it was also one of his largest.
Valentine was strongly attracted by the optical properties of the resin: by sanding and polishing the surface, he was able to make sculptures with pristine surface finishes and varying translucencies. When he started working with resin, only small shapes could be cast because large pieces would crack during the curing process. Valentine experimented with the resin to develop his own formulation that was commercialized in 1966 by Hastings Plastics in Santa Monica under the name Valentine MasKast Resin®. With this new resin he was able to create giant circles, slabs, and columns of solid polyester.