Art Review: Pinzarrone at home with 'New Work'

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112127431231816.jpg’, ‘Photo by Susan Webb Tregay’, ‘Paul Pinzzarrone and guest Bonnie Moore discuss Pinzzarrone's "New Work" at the June 17 opening.’);

Being new to Rockford, I have a hard time imagining Paul Pinzarrone’s complex abstractions of the ’70s and ’80s. Created in reverse on the back side of plexi, they must have been difficult for the artist to envision, very labor-intensive and extremely unforgiving.

Now the artist has taken his visions and his skills and adapted them to the computer’s 2-D and 3-D CAD programs. These pieces are still labor-intensive, reflecting the artist’s love of detail and complexity. But the computer allows for infinite manipulation, allowing him to try colors, combinations, layers and even play with the opacity/transparency of various layers. The myriad of choices would overwhelm most artists, but Pinzarrone is so at home with this style that the new medium is an extension of his early work.

These works are numbered rather than titled, leaving the viewers to roam their brains to interpret the swirl of color before them. Given this permission, to me the most successful pieces fall into two categories. They either remind me of something, or they conform to historic artistic standards such as limiting the color options.

“0202A” caught my eye first because of its limited red, yellow and blue palette. This palette, the choice of Mondiran and many artists who followed him, is uplifting and cheery. “0202A” is a small work with a central yellow glow that dominates the details, making them recede. Once your eye roams around the painting, it focuses on some intricate patterns in the deep blue base. This beautiful detail so reminds me of the rainbows cast in the shadow of a cut glass dish that I need to remind myself that this is computer art.

When you see this show, be sure to check out “0122 2005” in the southeast corner of the gallery. Its intricate, symmetrical, gold filigree is shaped like a regal lace collar. The center of the piece is black, and, of course, these works are framed under glass. So while you study the intricacies of this “collar,” refocus your eyes and you will see your reflection wearing it! This is a totally unique, though probably unintentional, way for viewers to interact with art. I’ve never experienced it before, but it sure was fun.

Another piece to note is “Bilat #4B” on the southwest wall. This piece shows signs of growing into a very contemporary work. Basically, it is mostly pastel blue. These slightly rounded blue areas provide a trendy “canvas” for some flat orange floating shapes. The opacity of these shapes brings to mind the Japanese Anime fantasy cartoons that are showing up in the fine art world today. Lovely ribbons of color and tiny details entertain the viewer, but don’t detract from these compelling new shapes. It is exciting to think of where Paul Pinzarrone will take this piece in its next rendition.

Finally, “Green 2005 A2” must be admired for its sliced-agate look. They repeat and overlap as they gradually get larger and take over the center. But there are some small repetitions of the shape that stretch over the right-hand side. These work to keep your eye within the picture plane. The colors, beguiling in themselves, are transparent and lovely. And very much like slices of agate.

Paul Pinzarrone’s exhibition of new work continues through Aug. 20 at Kortman Gallery, upstairs from J.R.Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., downtown Rockford. For more information, call the gallery at 968-0123 or visit

Susan Webb Tregay, artist and author, is currently working on her own book, Master Disaster.

From the July 13-19, 2005, issue

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