Margaret Lazzari painted this series during the tumultuous last two years and the paintings are both drawn-from and other-than the world around us. The process-oriented mark making that is a hallmark of Lazzari’s work became a space she could step into and in turn to share with viewers.
Forged through Lazzari’s meticulous manipulation of paint, there is a buoyant freedom to the gestures that belies the careful thought that goes into each mark on the canvas. Although the paint is not thickly applied, there is a depth to the strokes, a texture that speaks to clouds, stormy skies, ripples of water, melting ice, and perhaps most importantly, the play of light.
The fluid, eternal motion of Lazzari’s brush strokes are not contained by the edge of the canvas and seem to extend into the vast beyond. One can lose oneself over a horizon line in the distance and or can be pulled into minute inspection of a what feels like the ground under our feet. The viewer is pulled in by hints of what could be representational and is then spun into an exploration of a surface and into a journey through the painting that transcends realism and evokes a personal journey through an internal landscape.
Lazzari’s work is a contemporary nod to the 19th century landscape painters who were attempting to capture and convey the sublime through their work. Similarly, Lazzari uses the landscapes we inhabit to reference the space within - the sometimes chaotic nature of the changing seasons echoing the immense need for change in the world. There is an intensity of emotion in these works - the complexity of the times we are living in captured on canvas. And yet there is a beauty coaxed out of the storm that speaks to an eternal sense of hope.
Margaret Lazzari is a painter, writer, and Professor Emerita of Art at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design. Lazzari has had numerous museum and gallery exhibitions, including her 2020 exhibition, Vastness, at George Billis Gallery LA and her 2015 solo exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum as Distinguished Woman Artist. Her works are included in several permanent collections, including Cathedral Collection of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Kaiser Hospitals, California; Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama; Azusa Pacific University, California; Harrah’s Casino, New Jersey; the Fresno Art Museum; Clark University, Iowa; and St. Louis University Museum of Art. In 2018, she was named Honored Alumna of St. Louis University.
Lazzari has written several innovative textbooks, both as sole author of Practical Handbook for the Emerging Artist and also as co-author of Art and Design Fundamentals; Exploring Art: A Global, Thematic Approach, published by Cengage; and two drawing text/sketchbooks published by Oxford University Press. The third edition of the Practical Handbook will be published in 2021 by Thames and Hudson.
Over her 33 years at USC, she taught in the MFA program and in undergraduate painting, drawing, design and general education areas. Lazzari established the design program, which greatly expanded offerings in the Roski school. She served in several administrative roles during her career, including Vice Dean of Faculty, Vice Dean of Art, and Chair of Painting and Drawing. Lazzari lives and works in Southern California.
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