Francis Celentano ( 1928-2016 )

Seattle, Washington, USA

Because it exists solely on its own terms without external references I feel that geometric art is a direct and clearly calibrated means of expression affording a variety of directions. So in the course of my career my intentions have shifted in a number of ways, among them from the visually challenging reductive absolutes of high contrast, the black and white polarity, to the sensual swellings and contractions inspired by the visual spectrum.

I had by and large in the late 50s and early 60s painted an aggressive series in black and white and some including gray: hexagons, rectangles, circles and other geometric forms composed of repeated or progressively changing shapes. In some cases, especially the kinetic pieces, they had a visually hypnotic and destabilizing effect as I intended. This attribute of my work appears again in the Radial Paintings series of 2008 to 2010, but in a less absolute way since they include grays as well as color in most, but not all, cases.

The paintings of gradient color inspired by the visual spectrum occupied a good number of years, on and off from 1968 to 2007. This series starts with a grid system on canvas titled with Greek letters, Alpha, etc. They are in a horizontal format with vertical strips painted in gradually changing colors from top to bottom combined in some paintings with strips of solid color. The various strips of color in each painting alternate in very specific periodic sequences involving repetition, inversion and displacement. Later the number of vertical strips were limited, resulting in a tall vertical format as in the Iota series of 1974, repeated in 1994. I did this in order to quickly and flexibly compose and recombine the strips. I also painted enough strips to produce different paintings of the same color by rearranging their orders like the Spira series of 1988.

From 2003 to 2007 in the Cirque and Cirque Variation series I returned to painting undulating color shapes within a grid system on canvas.

In 1990 I began using Targa, a computer application, to design paintings. From these studies I scaled up and painted the Electra series of 1990 to 92, small squares of color in patterns on a background of a single color or two gradually merging colors. The intention in the selection of colors and the pattern was to generate an additive color experience. In most cases this resulted in an optical experience of random streaks of light pulsing along the picture plane. I have also used CAD (computer assisted design) to cut undulating plastic shapes prior to painting to achieve more interesting rhythms in my compositions such as in the Serpa series of 1988. I used Photoshop to design pairs of transparent patterns that I overlapped to produce a third pattern of unintended and automatically generated shapes as can be seen in the Gemini series of 2010 to 12. I selected some and translated these to paint on canvas, revealing their complex and fascinating rhythms on a larger scale

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