Thursday, March 29, 2012

Aaron Parazette

Aaron Parazette, Color Key #24, acrylic on linen, 2011
My art review of a show in October 2011

Now that the last show of glamour shots has faded away, the Dallas Contemporary is showing hard-edge painting master Aaron Parazette. From now until December 4th, we will be treated to his most recent paintings and a large-scale, site-specific wall painting. Houston-based artist Parazette is no stranger to the Dallas area. He has shown his work at Dunn and Brown (now Talley Dunn Gallery) for years.

I have always enjoyed the craftsmanship Parazette is able to achieve with his hard-edge style. The work looks so flawless that you would swear a machine produced the images. There is something quite beautiful about that high graphic look created by the human hand. It goes without saying that I don’t think the work is painted freehand -- he uses some tools to make these incredibly
crisp lines. Since I don't want to get into a very long diatribe on what constitutes a work done by the human hand, I will get back to Parazette.

Being a text artist myself, I find Parazette's word paintings particularly interesting. Apparently he uses a formula to create these paintings. It would seem that picking surfer lingo as his subject matter, which seems out of place for a Houstonian to use, is his dispassionate way of exposing most of us into an unfamiliar sub-culture. Parazette's letters are shuffled on the canvas, which
forces us to slowly decipher the message on canvas. He also outlines the letters with a thin line of color, which helps to highlight the words. The letters also overlap and weave in and out, which acts to break up the work into small abstract color fields. The simple shapes, letters, and words come together to form a complex composition.

But words are not the story of this show; the Dallas Contemporary is exhibiting his expertly executes hard-edge abstractions. Though not to the extent of someone like Bridget Riley’s Op art, Parazette's abstract paintings do have movement, but I don’t think he is aiming for precise illusionistic effects. Instead, you see a nice balance of colors moving in an aggressive pattern.
Parazette’s use of circle and shaped canvases breaks the traditional rectangle canvas and helps the pattern contrast with the sharp hard-edged angles of the painting.

Aaron Parazette’s installation is something you have to see, while it still exists. I am sure it will be painted over after the exhibition, so don’t miss this opportunity to see such a large piece by Parazette. Jennifer Rubell's feminist-inspired exhibition, “Nutcrackers” and photographs of Jason Brooks' tattoo work will also be up until December 4th at the Dallas Contemporary.
For more pictures of the show got to

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