Exhibition | Paul Pitsker: It’s All Arranged | Contemporary Art at George Billis Gallery LA | LOS ANGELES | Art Week

Paul Pitsker: It’s All Arranged

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Saturday, 21 November 2020 to Saturday, 2 January 2021
Saturday, 21 November 2020 -
3:00pm to 6:00pm

George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s third solo exhibition of watercolor paintings by Paul Pitsker. The exhibition, It’s All Arranged, features the artist’s recent work and continues through January 2nd.

Paul Pitsker’s watercolor paintings combine the tradition of still life with narrative elements exploring themes of confinement, thwarted yearning and looming disaster, subjects that are now too familiar to all of us whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.  His interest is in "delicate subjects," a term meant not just literally as it applies to insect wings and glassware, but also figuratively, as in a contemplation of the fragility of life or the inevitability of darkness, ideas we usually avoid confronting on a more than occasional basis.  His goal is to evoke an atmosphere of disquiet and a sense that the answers to life's most urgent questions might be hidden in plain sight and yet remain unreadable.
Watercolor has a reputation for being unforgiving -- the paint is translucent and the paper is absorbent, so marks made at any point during the process are likely to remain visible in the final result.  Pitsker writes, “Each watercolor painting is a kind of performance, like a music recital where you can’t take back the sounds you make...  You can only add to them.”  One of Pitsker’s goals with the medium has been to make paintings that don’t look like traditional watercolors.  To this end, he uses fine-grained staining pigments, smooth paper, and for the most part, avoids splashy wet-in-wet effects and grainy, sedimentary textures.
In this new body of work, Pitsker is experimenting with selectively applying watercolor paint via a marbling technique adapted from methods dating back to 16th century Persia and the Ottoman Empire, which in turn may have arisen from an even older sumi ink marbling tradition originating in feudal Japan.  The resulting patterns echo the delicate structures of butterfly wings, bird feathers, leaves or flowers that Pitsker renders with traditional watercolor brush techniques in the other untouched areas of the same sheet of paper after the masking is removed.  The combined result is easily mistaken for collage, but in fact each hybrid painting is just watercolor paint on a single sheet of paper, combining Eastern with Western traditions of paint application, fortuitous chance with deliberate planning, and the complex interactions of surface tension and fluid dynamics with the meticulous rendering by hand of similarly complex natural forms.

Pitsker received his BA with distinction from Pomona College, Claremont, CA, in 1985.  His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and appeared in multiple publication including American Art Collector, American Entomologist, Bootleg Magazine, Studio Visit Magazine, and LA Weekly.  He lives and works in Santa Monica, CA.

Venue ( Address ): 

2716 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

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