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Stephen Giannetti
Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by Cherie Turner

Continuing through February 25, 2012


This show of the latest work by abstract formalist Bay Area painter Stephen Giannetti demonstrates the delight and depth (here, both figurative and literal) to be found in constrained pursuits. Such a disciplined exploration of color and form immediately brings to mind the work of Charles Arnoldi. For over a decade, Giannetti has been meticulously layering poker-chip-sized circles in various grids, to surprising effect; the circles are either simple outlines made with a thin black line; filled in with a thin layer of a single color; or defined by their negative (white) space, a single thin color being sprayed around the shape (note that the thinness of the color applied allows for the optical mixing of color as one layer is applied upon the next). 


These new paintings (all from 2011) feature the latter; this is the first full body of work to feature these negative-space circles and the first time the artist has used color around them (earlier work of this kind was in black and white). And here Giannetti has limited the colors to only six, the three primary colors and the three secondary colors (as well as, in “In Memory Of . . .” black and white). Additionally, and quite significantly, Giannetti has moved from using six layers to using eight; this adds a substantial depth to the work without muddying it. Indeed, Giannetti’s rigorous experimentation once again reveals, and perhaps here more than ever, the surprising beauty that can be culled from seemingly singular pursuits. 

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