»Flying Out« | 2015
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Lucio Pozzi

A changing exhibition

July 2020


HardEdge Baroque 1966 – 2016
Scatter Paintings 2014 – 2019
Flower Paintings 2009 – 2010

My art proceeds by alternating between different ways. No series is ever concluded. To allow me to always probe emotion and thought with a maximum of intensity, never taking anything for granted, I need to leap between diverse modalities that echo one another. I proceed in a spiral sequence without falling prey to a linear progress from one phase to the next, returning refreshed over the years to ideas and procedures started long ago.
Three families of paintings are presented here.

The small gouaches on paper of the HardEdge Baroque group started in Rome, in the mid 60’s. Before that, I had been reducing my works to few large overlapping fields of thin color painted with wide brushes. They responded to my interest in having painting dialogue with architecture and the environment. I liked what I had seen in reproductions of Ellsworth Kelly’s and Leon Polk Smith’s paintings: large areas of uniform color contained in sharply defined borders. I later found that they were called Hard Edge paintings.

At one point I wondered about what shapes could grow from my backing away from the scene of my crossed fields, as if I were zooming out from it. If my simpler forms were thought as close-up details of a wider universe extending beyond the painting’s perimeter, what other images would be revealed by exploring beyond its boundaries? I discovered infinite worlds ranging from the more complicated to the more simple. The HardEdge Baroque gouaches are born from this exploration. In the context of my painting story they contain elements that return in other cycles of my art.

The Scatter Paintings echo the Hardedge Baroque imagery inasmuch as both groups are not afraid of hinting at three-dimensional illusionism. But whereas the gouaches come from painting single-color shapes side by side, like in a coloring book, following pencil traces, the acrylics on canvas get to a similar result by literally overlapping hard-edged blocks of thick paint applied with large palette knives.

I start a painting by using wide brushes to throw a first coat of two or three colors of liquid paint on a stretched canvas laid on the floor. The areas of diluted paint are like territories of different colors. When it is dry I add some other areas over the first, like giant glazes. Then I hang the canvas on the wall and start responding to the shapes that chance and my previous gestures have formed in the paint. My response consists of outlining with masking tape little and larger areas in imitation or contradiction of the blobs and zones of color I find. Taking advantage of the fast drying characteristic of the acrylics, I quickly transform what’s there. I just follow feeling, whim, observation, contradiction, and have no qualms covering that which I have just done. Eventually panic and excitement lead me beyond expectation. Walking the tightrope of thought and feeling the painting calls in me, I never know what I am going to end up doing and never know if and when a painting is finished.

When I paint Flower Paintings I follow a sequence similar to the one for the Scatters, but instead of adding thick geometric areas over a ground of washes, I paint biomorphic shapes that resemble flowers or human limbs. They sometimes are placed next to one another so as to allude to deeper illusion, some other times they literally overlap.

Nature’s complexities have always fascinated me as a source for painted forms. I love translating landscape details into watercolors on paper. When in 1980 John Weber had the guts to present an exhibition of 80 pieces all related to painting but all very different in nature and substance, I also added four canvases of gestural paint representing flowery forms sticking out from vase-like containers. It was my way of declaring the importance of feeling as it grafts onto the language of painting and my sense that dogmatic taboos had done their time. Painting became for me an endless field that generates interacting universes of experience.

Lucio Pozzi