ACQUAVENEZIA, an exhibition of new work by acclaimed Fort Worth artist Julie Lazarus, will be on display November 23-December 28 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held Saturday, November 23, 5:00-8:00 p.m. The show will feature new oil paintings and glass sculptures largely informed by the artist's travels to Venice, Italy, and her ongoing interest in the unique luminosity of the atmosphere and landscape found there.
Venice has become a metaphor for what feeds my work. It is one of the only places in the world where there is such a marriage of water and architecture...and what I am passionate about is this relationship. My paintings are about buildings, trees and the land, and the water's reflections of all of them. In Venice, I observe the seeming surplus of water, filtering the colors, light and architectural details into my own artistic vision.
Lazarus' passion for such visual associations materializes as an abstract commingling of light, line, and texture-a reduction of the landscape to its most elemental state. Embedded in this reduction, however, is a complex array of intense color and layering that evokes nature's depths alongside manmade constructs. Waves of water and light create a sense of movement, even as they coalesce with the harder lines to establish a stable architecture within the landscape.
Lazarus presents her landscapes as verticals. Not just a twist on the expected, this format mimics high-rising buildings as well as the human stance, essentially "standing" in front of the viewer and prompting a more relatable interaction between art and audience.
ACQUAVENEZIA-ARSENALE exemplifies these juxtapositions, as broad vertical and horizontal strips gently collide to demarcate the space amid undulating colors and organic matter. Light pervades the composition, emanating from the background while simultaneously glowing around each vibrant edge. Lazarus has dissected both the landscape and the light that illuminates it. Just as the spectrum refracts and splits when it meets a solid surface, the artist's blocks of color splay across the picture plane. Lazarus has also incorporated collaged fragments of watercolors created in Venice, adding texture and introducing a deliberate tactility to the two-dimensional surface. These elements also serve as physical and visual bridges to Lazarus' glass sculptures, several of which will be exhibited in relation to her canvases.
There is a wonderful challenge in translating my two-dimensional work into sculptural forms. A three-dimensional piece can be viewed from all angles, so the abstraction has to take into account light and negative space in different ways. Under a strong light or near a window, the polychromatic designs are constantly changing.
By pairing the sculptures with the paintings, Lazarus produces the feel of an installation. The glass pieces create external foregrounds, visually pulling the canvases into the viewer's space and initiating a conversation between two- and three-dimensional abstraction. Additionally, the colored glass reacts to external light, forming different patterns wherever it meets the surface. With these sculptures, Lazarus scrutinizes and celebrates the inherent nature of light and its fleeting, ever-changing beauty.
ACQUAVENEZIA-ZATTERE explores the deep, luminous water that permeates all aspects of Venice-both as its own entity and as a shimmering reflective surface. In this vein, the water acts as a connective force between literal and perceived. The many layers of color-some concentrated, some diaphanous-emerge and retract, recalling the continuous ebb and flow of the water and revealing new minutiae the longer one gazes. Lazarus' composition also references the artist's storied window on the world, as loosely painted rectangles surround the central block of color to organize the space. Organic and geometric elements continue their dialogue here, while individual parts expand and contract to form an infinite whole.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Over the past three decades, Julie Lazarus has built a varied exhibition record, showingin regional, national, and international venues. Her work has appeared in galleries and museums in Fort Worth and Dallas, as well as in Albuquerque, Chicago, Galveston, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Santa Fe, among others. She has also exhibited extensively throughout Italy, with shows in Florence, Venice, and Murano. Public works of art include a three-year commission from the City of Fort Worth to fabricate and install a multipart piece for the Westside Water Treatment Plant. Completed in 2012, this project features a large-scale painting in the building's lobby and a glass mosaic that spans an exterior wall and ramp. In 2000, Lazarus also designed new stained-glass windows and a bronze door for Beth El Congregation in Fort Worth.
Lazarus' work is included in many private and public art collections, among them, those of Allstate Insurance, the Belo Corporation, the City of Fort Worth, Credit Suisse, the Exxon Corporation, Microsoft, Neiman Marcus, Texas Christian University, Texas Instruments, XTO Energy, Frank Stella and Harriet McGuirk, and President George W. and Laura Bush.
Julie Lazarus received her MFA in painting and printmaking from the University of Tulsa, and her BA from Hofstra University in New York. She received additional training from New York University, the Galveston Art Center, and Philbrook Museum School in Tulsa.