Aaron Parazette

"Axe" (2006) Aaron Parazette;
at the Gregory Lind Gallery


Regional Roundup: San Francisco
by Laura Richard Janku

Gregory Lind Gallery
"Aaron Parazette: Wind Swell"
Through Dec. 9

In his latest suite of cryptogrammic paintings at the Gregory Lind Gallery, Aaron Parazette continues to delight with his technical skill and verbal gymnastics. Typographic and compositional perfection—luminous splashes, crisp lines and seamless curves against a monochromatic background—belie the playful, irreverent nature of the surfer lingo transcribed in these works.

To create his one-word works, Parazette arrays each constituent letter in a carefully considered jumble across the canvas.

For example, the dominant and foregrounded "X" in Axe reinforces its special meaning for surfers: a wave that wipes you out. To similar effect, Parazette has inverted, flipped and stretched the letters in Kook, the moniker for a really bad surfer.

These idioms are hot-paletted and exuberant in their outlines, with Parazette's signature "pinlines," which reveal underpainting around the edges of each form, letter or expanse of space.

Beyond their textured, formalist beauty, the paintings also crackle with double entendres and reveal how slang functions as short hand and a way for discrete social groups to separate insiders and outsiders.

Parazette's push between surface and depth, language and narrative, flippancy and formality, position him within several art-world sects: hard-edge painting, graphic design, concrete poetry, and the Los Angeles Finish Fetishists, among them. And given that Parazette has been in land-locked Houston for 15 years, the works may also function as a mnemonic leash to the totally tubular Southern California surfing days of his youth.