ABOUT

1933-2021

“Tony De Blasi makes brushstrokes into independent wall reliefs. Disembodied from the canvas, they float gracefully in a spatial limbo as their shadows echo the lively arabesques and bold blots of color.”

Helen Harrison  “Beyond Showing Textural Extremes in Painting,” 
The New York Times, p. 30, Nov. 28, LI, 1993 

One of a handful of artists approaching abstract painting as three-dimensional structure,Tony DeBlasi’s art speaks of calligraphy, movement and jazz, positivism, and color.

Tony came to New York in 1983 and showed with the Louis K. Meisel Gallery until 1996. His work eliminated the canvas replacing it with wooden shapes painted and extended from the wall, evoking dimensional drawing. Exploring relationships of shape, color and dimensionality, he called his later artworks ‘constructed paintings.’

He was exhilarated by the energetic, linear low relief of Moorish and Islamic architectural design observed while on sabbatical in Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, and Morocco. He found their use of color, movement and energetic rhythm in the context of low relief valuable while preferring an asymmetric  approach.

Influences include Matisse’s colorful and ambiguous “Cutouts,” Kandinsky’s energetic “Improvisations,” Kline’s gestural structuring and Ellsworth Kelly’s perfect balance of color to form. In final works and initial sketches the reference to Twombly’s animated ‘scribbles.’ can be recognized.

His fondness for pop-up books and crazy quilts, with their recognition of disorder, added an upbeat and playful energy to the works.

The ‘Energy 1’ series introduces linear abstract shapes and gestures that function as gestural marks in front of an implied picture plane, creating an, energetic explosion. The elements are individually cut from wood, painted and arranged directly on the wall, somewhat like low relief sculpture.

In ‘Energy 2’ wider shapes reminiscent in texture of brush strokes are introduced and the picture plane becomes more defined. Thick and thin, color, overlap and distance from the wall plane create tensions and harmonies.

In “Calligraphy” some shapes are enlarged and become more solid while still breaking the rectangular format and dealing with spatial relationships, color and movement.

In the “Geometry” series, DeBlasi brings back the solid rectangle and combines it with the linear and shaped elements that appear in the earlier series. While still rejecting the confines of the rectangular picture plane, these elements connect with the background creating tension between the rectilinear and the freeform.

‘Farther Out’ 1 and 2 continue in the three-dimensional vein incorporating that energy in a smaller, more delicate format. They focus on the connectivity of the linear forms, involving a change in the linear relationships as the viewer moves around the work.

In his later years, no longer able to make dimensional work, Tony moved on to smaller drawings on paper using various markers. Dealing with complex spatial and color relationships as well as relationships of line and pattern, you will find these in the “Late Drawings” section.