Monday, December 10, 2007

Grillage- Joslyn Museum of Art


Acrylic and String on Canvas
52" x 60", 1980
Collection: Joslyn Museum of Art
Copyright © Dennis Guastella 1980

Detail of Grillage

I entered the 22-state competition organized by the Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha, Nebraska. The Biennial was an artist exhibit that filled the lower level of the museum with works from artists spanning the Midwest. Jan Van Marc was the juror this year (1980) and he selected my work for "Best in Show" and recommended my painting for purchase prize. The curator for the Joslyn exhibit called me with the good news that the museum would like to purchase the work for its collection. I am honored that the painting is part of their permanent collection.

For this painting, I spaced and glued string onto the canvas. The string serves as a physical line demarcation on its surface. It also served a practical means of relief to raise the straightedge that I used as a guide to extrude vertical lines of paint on the canvas. I extended the lines and dots of color across the canvas in a systematic way including a fragmented grid. My intent was to create an illusion of a flat painting, a systematic design of line and color, and a contrasting illusion of overlapping grid systems. I wanted this play of flatness along with relief - a counterpoint of an organized pattern of line against the fragmented grid. I also painted what appears to be a drop shadow for the fragmented grid which heightens the illusion of shallow space. Depending on the position of viewer, the painting changes at different at angles of view.