“I've been walking the arroyos and canyons, looking at the rocks carved by water. Not the cobbles and pebbles so much as the place where fast water has cut down through bedrock. These water cuts are beautiful in the way the rock is carved; the cut narrows down, turns, opens up, drops off, down turn, out, around, over... beautiful flowing, sweeping elegant lines.”

Artist Peter Trexler works in his studio high on a north ridge of the Santa Catalina Mountains, taking what he sees with his eyes and translating this vision to his hands. A working artist for over thirty years, Trexler established his metal fabrication studio, Oracle Lightworks, in the Sonoran desert north of Tucson in 1999. Specializing in functional sculpture, lamps, light fixtures, doors, windows, and furniture, Trexler’s most recent work is a series of hand formed, one-of-a-kind copper and aluminum bowls.

“I look to these rocks to reflect on process. The gorgeous lines are not the result of intentional design, but rather reflect a balance of force and material. Here the rock is harder, there softer. Here the water goes faster, there it slows down. Run your hand along the surface and you feel the grace of form and transition. Whether it is the depth of the cut or the shape and quality of the turn, all reflects the interplay between the erosional power of the water and the qualities of the rock it cuts.”

Trexler forms these unique bowls relying on his mastery of the early twentieth century metal shaper’s craft, the tools of his trade, and above all, hands. “I'm not trying to form metal into shapes that mimic water carved rock, but rather I reflect on this process as I feel the force of my hammer against the malleability of the metal. I design and form each piece by free hand cutting, torch annealing, shrinking and stretching, hammering, and each step in the process creates different characteristics within the metal. As I hammer, I feel these qualities and allow the metal to flow and form into equilibrium – a balance of 3 dimensional form that reflects the inherent elegance of the material.” The final result is a beautiful bowl, strong and functional, that shimmers with light.

“So much of the aesthetic in contemporary decorative art is about forcing material to yield to the artist's design. Not to say these works are not beautiful, but they approach vainglorious - see how cleverly I can form this glass/clay/wood/metal. Visual pyrotechnics; I've done that. I now pursue a more subtle beauty; a beauty not of ego, but of respect, grace and balance. A quieter voice, more meditative, perhaps more timeless and universal.”

Every aspect of fabricating these bowls is performed by the artist. No bowl can be re-created; each is an original. On the bottom of the bowl is the artist’s signature and piece number, symbolic of his pride in craft.

Originally a photographer, Trexler’s work has evolved to include painting and sculpture, a natural outgrowth of a lifelong love of working with his hands. Over the years he has explored both geometric abstraction and figurative work with diverse styles and a subject matter ranging from social and political issues to introspective, reflective studies. He is widely published as a commercial photographer, exhibited and collected as a fine artist, and is perhaps best known for his work in the early nineties when he created over forty site-specific installations throughout the southwestern United States. His degrees include a Bachelor of Arts (Brooks Institute), a Master of Arts (Humboldt State University), and a Master of Fine Arts (The University of Arizona), and he has been an instructor for the past thirteen years in the Art Department and Digital Arts Department at Pima College.