1966-1977

1966-1977

Norman Zammitt: 1966-1977 aims to capture the important transition the artist made from his sculptural works of the second half of the sixties to the paintings of the seventies, while showcasing newly acquired works in both mediums. In the early sixties, Norman Zammitt was teaching at the University of New Mexico. While working on his early figural paintings, he observed the mixture of colors on his glass palette. Influenced by New Mexico’s light, color, and space, he became more interested in what was happening on his palette than on the canvas. He transferred his painting process to sheets of glass, followed by acrylic plastic, leading to the start of his transparent sculptures, the first of that genre shown in Los Angeles and New York. Eventually Zammitt laminated thicker sheets to create a solid piece, overlapping patterned images of transparent pigment in the embedded, translucent image, creating a layered three-dimensionality. The results are inherent in Honeycomb IV (1966), presented here for the first time. Following, the acrylic resin works from the mid-sixties, Zammitt pushed the painterly possibilities of the sculptural object further with his ‘poles.’ These sculptures, roughly seven to ten feet in length and one to 2 inches square, round, octagonal, hexagonal or spindled, were constructed with solid color acrylics in an order of color frequencies, then laminated and polished. The final object combined the transparent, translucent and opaque in a combination varying from matte to high gloss. These banded works in unique color combinations and indebted to his observations of the natural world as well as his own early years growing up on the Caughnawaga reservation, undoubtedly paved the way for his return to painting in the seventies. The sculptures, suspending color in space, led the artist back to painting on canvas entirely in the abstract in pursuit of understanding and expressing color itself. Zammitt had a spiritual connection to color that outstripped any basic aesthetic appreciation. He sought to parallel the abstraction of light in paint, to correlate palette and sky. He found that none of the different theories of color were quite related to nature, so he began putting color into what he felt was their natural sequence. This exhibition presents a selection of his smaller paintings from 1975-1977, some as studies for his larger canvases and others that are completely unique, and at times more directly compositional and related to his previous sculptural work.

1966-1977

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