New Paintings by Aaron Parazette
October 25 - December 9, 2006
Houston-based artist Aaron Parazette's latest exhibition, Wind Swell, expands on his oeuvre of Hard Edge text paintings, which give tacit nods to concrete poetry, formalist cartography, and LA's Cool School. An assemblage of luminous splashes, crisp lines, and seamless curves makes up the surfer lingo in paintings like "Axe", "Kook", "Grind", and "Snap" - whose titles are derived from the words spattered in arbitrary compositions against monochromatic backdrops. As references to Parazette's youth as a surfer in southern California, the pieces suggest the exhilaration and sun-drenched playfulness of surfer culture while exploiting the pictorial interaction between flatness and depth.
In Parazette's pieces, the surfer lingo is almost illogically placed. Letters are jumbled on the canvas in a flashy display of glossy, computer-generated artifice (later matched in acrylic paint) - signifiers that nullify the references to surfing by subsisting in a lexicon of pure graphic facade and geometry. In "Axe", the word "axe" can be read vertically down the painting, the "x" a monumental marker stretched across the canvas and anchoring the other letters in a delightful symmetry. In works such as "Kook", the letters are flipped, stretched, and rotated - revealing the illustrative possibilities of the text. Parazette's signature "pinlines," which reveal boldly visible underpainting around the edges of each form, letter, or expanse of space, also emphasize the textured, formalist beauty of the pieces. In blending the two distinct cultures of painting and surfing, Parazette uncovers a geometry of forms that is both stimulating and intentionally irreverent. As he stated in a recent interview, with his current body of paintings, "I'm trying to get to the yeah."
Aaron Parazette's solo exhibitions include All On Up, Marlborough Gallery Chelsea, New York, 2006; Drive Thru, The Suburban, Chicago, 2005; Project Space, ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair, Madrid, Spain; and Perspectives 141: Aaron Parazette, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 2004. His two-person and group exhibitions include Blurring the Line, University of Texas at San Antonio, 2006; Restless, Glassell School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2005; Conversagence, Gregory Lind Gallery, 2004; New Paintings: Esposito/Parazette/Rosmarin, Texas Gallery, Houston, 2003; and Beautiful Pressure, Rocket Projects, Miami, 2003. Parazette's distinctions include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and an Artadia Fund for Art and Dialogue award. He holds a MFA in Painting from Claremont Graduate University. This is the artist's first San Francisco solo exhibition.
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