Alan Mazzetti: Horizon Lines

Desta Gallery

417 San Anselmo, California

May 19 – July 13, 2017

Alan Mazzetti is a contemporary artist living and working in San Francisco California, specializing in abstracted landscapes and cityscapes. As a second generation artist and Californian, he is strongly attracted to the many visual delights of the Bay Area and has developed a unique approach to depicting them in his acrylic paintings.

Re-locating to San Francisco from his native Santa Barbara, Alan studied at the Academy of Art College in the mid-70’s, concentrating on Graphic Design and Illustration. Since 1979, he as been working as an independent designer and artist, initially focusing on designing logos, posters, collateral print material, packaging and book jackets, working with typography. This experience continues to inform his paintings. Ten years of graphic design eventually evolved into the next ten years of illustration work, as he was increasingly attracted to developing a more personal pictorial style. The fine art he has been doing since the mid 90’s is now totally self-directed in both subject and style.

Alan’s fine art was originally an extension of his Illustration work, using collage and photo-transfer imagery to describe his environment, primarily urban scenes from San Francisco and from his travels. Still intrigued with the idea of “essentials” this imagery was gradually edited down to basic shapes, colors and textures, leading to geometric abstractions. These paintings were exhibited and sold through galleries and consultants in San Francisco, Palm Desert, Tucson, Washington DC, Boston, and other cities. Around 2010, the abstract paintings developed “horizon lines” and while still non-representational, suggested the natural forms of landscapes. With no shortage of subject matter in the Bay Area, or in frequent trips to southern California, Alan is now concentrating on making his landscapes and cityscapes more cohesive, more identical in style. He continues to participate in various solo and group exhibitions.

Artist Statement

My paintings continue to explore the relationship between Representation and Abstraction. Subjects are selected from my California environment, often from the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live and work. These rural and urban images serve as the starting point for the painting process.

My perspective for most of the work is from a high, distant vantage point which emphasizes the flat quality and patterns I like to depict in the compositions. For the urban images, this results in a view of buildings seemingly adjacent, but actually distant from each other. I enjoy the idea of this as an alternate reality – true from a certain point of view, and conceptually abstracted. With the landscapes, I use the distant point of view and seek subjects that have a natural linearity to them – fields, roads, rows of trees. Enough detail is suggested to re-present the scale and character of the subject, whether buildings or fields, yet the primary emphasis is on composition, color and mood.

While the work has easily identifiable subject matter, my main concern is the act of painting. Evidence remains of initial sketching, mark-making, sequential refinements, masking and layering. Further abstraction is achieved through atmospheric perspective and by the degree of development in different sections of the painting. Through the masking and selective editing, I leave traces of previous stages, and it is not uncommon to find a section of pencil sketch on white gesso next to a heavily worked painted area.

For me, this evidence of process implies a sense of transition. This is evident in the landscapes with the juxtaposition of organic and constructed forms, or with mark-making that implies motion. There is often a sense of passing through the scene. The urban subjects show the change in styles and ages of the structures – the transition of society and of the city itself. The idea of transition is further depicted by the visibility of all stages in the process – from blank panel to completed painting.

This journey is the essence of all my work – the movement through time and space that ultimately arrives at an unexpected destination for both myself and the viewer.

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