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Jon Parlangeli
Detroit, Michigan
I have been painting in and around Detroit for over 25 years with artwork placed in both public and private collections. I was first educated at Western Michigan University studying sculpture in the late 80s. Eventual bronze and steel patina experimentation lent credence to painting and me away from WMU in 1991 towards the Detroit art scene and Wayne State University’s painting department. At Wayne I was able to flourish with my new medium, oil, and begin my lifelong journey into paint not only as a simple medium, but a vehicle for sensory experimentation and transformation. My work is rooted in abstract expressionism, impressionism and also a nod to cubism in years past. Each genre furthers my passion for the medium and satiates my mood for imagery no matter which vehicle I choose to convey my message. I do work on a larger scale whenever possible. Scale is important to me in defining the relationship between artist and artwork and audience and artwork. Through process and experimentation the work becomes an amalgamation of color, line and texture infused with natural history, modern thought and perception. Process is everything to my work, and generally outweighs the final product in terms of importance because of the informational and emotional release of creation. My goal is to initially draw viewers into the image as a whole and become become comfortable with scale, light and the relationships of color and movement. Upon further reflection a sense of nuance appears; the accidental and purposeful relationships of any scale that resonate and become apparent as primal, and finally drifting back again to debate the overall impact of the message be it natural, sociological, or otherwise. When my career as a painter began it seemed all I wanted to paint was trauma genres; to make bold statements regarding the injustices of the world through simple but narrowly defined concepts. I consider it important work for my career, but also the work of a youth passionately influenced by the German Expressionists as well as singular works such as Picasso’s Guernica. As my career progressed I began to delve deeper into the medium forsaking some immediate messaging. The influence of Van Gogh and De Kooning filtered in. Van Gogh’s texture and line work congealed with De Kooning’s compositions and forceful use of paint caused me to create hybrid messaging that relied more on subtlety with increased focus on direct color and line relationships. By 2010 that direction carried me away from the figure almost completely and closer to abstraction expressionism. The paint itself was speaking more forcefully through my process. This is not to say that my paintings are now bereft of sociological, political or otherwise messaging, but that their representation in my work is now defined with a different thought; a more mature understanding of the art and its context in the world around me. I prefer to work in oils whenever possible for the absolute beauty and intensity, but also utilize acrylics, watercolor and spray paint depending on the effect I am looking for. I am obsessed with what paint can do; be it painted, poured, tossed, globbed on or scraped. Happy accidents and planned execution of paint provide an unlimited dialogue of perception at its most primal. If I am not painting thickly, then I typically liquefy the paint using a mixture of oils, resins and other vehicles. These additives act as thinners along with highly pigmented paints that can withstand thinning without compromising color quality. In this manner of painting reactions are just as important as actions as the paint takes on a life of its own when it meets complimentary or contradictory elements.
I have been painting in and around Detroit for over 25 years with artwork placed in both public and private collections. I was first educated at Western Michigan University studying sculpture in the late 80s. Eventual bronze and steel patina experimentation lent credence to painting and me away from WMU in 1991 towards the Detroit art scene and Wayne State University’s painting department. At Wayne I was able to flourish with my new medium, oil, and begin my lifelong journey into paint not only as a simple medium, but a vehicle for sensory experimentation and transformation. My work is rooted in abstract expressionism, impressionism and also a nod to cubism in years past. Each genre furthers my passion for the medium and satiates my mood for imagery no matter which vehicle I choose to convey my message. I do work on a larger scale whenever possible. Scale is important to me in defining the relationship between artist and artwork and audience and artwork. Through process and experimentation the work becomes an amalgamation of color, line and texture infused with natural history, modern thought and perception. Process is everything to my work, and generally outweighs the final product in terms of importance because of the informational and emotional release of creation. My goal is to initially draw viewers into the image as a whole and become become comfortable with scale, light and the relationships of color and movement. Upon further reflection a sense of nuance appears; the accidental and purposeful relationships of any scale that resonate and become apparent as primal, and finally drifting back again to debate the overall impact of the message be it natural, sociological, or otherwise. When my career as a painter began it seemed all I wanted to paint was trauma genres; to make bold statements regarding the injustices of the world through simple but narrowly defined concepts. I consider it important work for my career, but also the work of a youth passionately influenced by the German Expressionists as well as singular works such as Picasso’s Guernica. As my career progressed I began to delve deeper into the medium forsaking some immediate messaging. The influence of Van Gogh and De Kooning filtered in. Van Gogh’s texture and line work congealed with De Kooning’s compositions and forceful use of paint caused me to create hybrid messaging that relied more on subtlety with increased focus on direct color and line relationships. By 2010 that direction carried me away from the figure almost completely and closer to abstraction expressionism. The paint itself was speaking more forcefully through my process. This is not to say that my paintings are now bereft of sociological, political or otherwise messaging, but that their representation in my work is now defined with a different thought; a more mature understanding of the art and its context in the world around me. I prefer to work in oils whenever possible for the absolute beauty and intensity, but also utilize acrylics, watercolor and spray paint depending on the effect I am looking for. I am obsessed with what paint can do; be it painted, poured, tossed, globbed on or scraped. Happy accidents and planned execution of paint provide an unlimited dialogue of perception at its most primal. If I am not painting thickly, then I typically liquefy the paint using a mixture of oils, resins and other vehicles. These additives act as thinners along with highly pigmented paints that can withstand thinning without compromising color quality. In this manner of painting reactions are just as important as actions as the paint takes on a life of its own when it meets complimentary or contradictory elements.
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