ARTIST STATEMENT JUNE 2020
These paintings are about the space around us, which metaphorically references the space within us. Both spaces are vast and at the same time transitory and ever-changing. These “landscapes” are energy, space, light and matter. They are about us as humans in the physical world, the marvel of existence, and also the unknown or mysterious aspect of the world around us.
The paintings are based on patterns found in landforms, water, and sky. I am trying to make paint seem to be air and light, to suggest what physicists tell us: that matter can transform into light and energy. I want the paintings to convey the density of matter, the luminosity of voids, and movement or vibration. The paintings suggest vastness. Many have a very low or very high horizon line, so that either the sky or the ground seems to expand outward for great distances. The resulting spaces seem large and light filled, but also unstable, changing, and dynamic.
Water is a big inspiration for these paintings. It has no intrinsic shape. As liquid it fills the oceans but as vapor it fills the sky. But it has weight and can exert tremendous force. Its movement creates rhythms and patterns that are beautiful. Sky and ocean can be any color and sometimes look like each other. Skies may be green, yellow, or blue. And then within each color, I try to find random specks of other hues, like what happens when water breaks down light into rainbow colors.
While my paintings are not literal landscapes, they are influenced by historical landscape art, especially those expressing transcendence, like Ansel Adams photographs, paintings from the Hudson River school, or the American luminist painters of the late 1800s. All suggest landscape paintings do more than just record surface features; they are studies of the structure of the physical world and evocative of human emotions.
Margaret Lazzari is an artist, writer and Professor Emerita of Art at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design. Lazzari was born in St. Louis in 1953 and received her M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.
She has had numerous museum and gallery exhibitions of her paintings and drawings and her work is included in many private and public collections including the Angell Foundation Collection, Los Angeles; the Cathedral Collection of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Kaiser Hospitals, California; Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama; St. Louis University, Missouri; Azusa Pacific University, California; Harrah’s Casino New Jersey; the Fisher Museum of Art at USC; the Fresno Art Museum; Los Angeles Metro; Los Angeles County Health Department; Mount San Antonio College, Walnut , CA; and Clark College, Iowa, among others.
Margaret Lazzari is the author of The Practical Handbook for the Emerging Artist as well as co-author of Exploring Art: A Global, Thematic Approach, and two Drawing Text/Sketchbooks published by Oxford University Press.
Lazzari has completed many solo and collaborative (as part of the Lazzari and Evans Public Art Design Team) public art commissions including artwork for the cities of Castaic, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Palmdale, San Jose, and the Los Angeles Metro Orange Line, all of which honor the local history of the place the works were completed. She recently designed a mural for the USC Leventhal School of Accounting that was executed with USC Roski Art and Design students and completed a mural painting for the Mary Chapel at Our Savior Catholic Church, USC Caruso Catholic Center.
In 2000, LAzzari was the subject of a retrospective exhibition originating at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside CA, and she was the Fresno Art Museum's Distinguished Woman Artist for 2015 and had a retrospective exhibition at the museum at that time.
Lazzari lives and works in Southern California.