A new series of images with a fixation on cows by pioneering digital image maker Glen Wexler, known for designing approximately 300 album covers by numerous hit artists in rock and R&B, is coming to Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica.

The Secret Life of Cows opens with a reception at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 7th, at Track 16, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free. The exhibit remains on display through Saturday, August 4th.

The new exhibit, based on Wexler’s recently published book of the same title, depicts cows in zany, irrational and bizarre scenarios — cow superheros, cow secret agents, flying cows and cows parachuting in the sky.

The images are surrealistic but narrative in nature.

Wexler is known as an early forerunner of using digital technology in his graphical works.

He originally used to use darkroom techniques to layer his photographs in the 1970s and 1980s.

Then in 1986, he says he was introduced by Tony Redhead to a digital design prototype called Quantel Paintbox. This bulky and pricey computer-based system (which he estimates at $30,000) used what was called “Electric Paint” for a graphic output that was utilized mostly by the film industry at the time. Wexler now uses a state-of-the-art digital studio equipped with the latest Macintosh machines.

But the true logistical challenge of executing a bovine-based art project was one that technology could not solve — working with the feisty beasts themselves.

“We tried to work with real cows as little as possible,” says Wexler. “We had Hollywood cows (that had recently starred in a cheese commercial), the best of the best cows, that were somewhat used to cameras. But the fact is, cows are not particularly cooperative.”

As a student, Wexler’s style was influenced by the lavish record covers of 1970s rock bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, who were using cutting edge design techniques for the time.

He got a break while still in school at age 22, when he was commissioned to design an album cover for Brothers Johnson, a hit R&B act produced by Quincy Jones.

Now, with the paradigm in music marketing shifting, and the importance of album cover artwork in question due to digital distribution via the internet, Wexler says it is his goal to find a new place of importance for imagery in music

As for his trusting in the pop appeal of cows to sell his latest works, Wexler says, “People just seem to like them. And when we put these boring, dumb animals in impossible situations and make them do heroic actions, it makes a good comedic contrast. It’s good for a laugh.”

Information, (310) 264-4678.

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