Fan Mail: Curtis Amisich

For this edition of Fan Mail, Curtis Amisich has been selected from a group of worthy submissions. If you would like to be considered, please submit to a link to your website with ‘Fan Mail’ in the subject line. Two artists are featured each month—the next one could be you!

Curtis Amisich. "Call Me Queequeg," 2010 from the series "Scrambled." Acrylic on Panel. 24 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

In 1964, Time magazine published an article entitled “Op Art: Pictures that Attack the Eye,” in which MoMA curator William Seitz explains that works from the budding movement designated “[Optical Art] exist less as objects than as generators of perceptual responses.” The paintings of Curtis Amisich quite evidently echo the work of Op-Artist Bridget Riley, but also more subtly reflect the influences of Minimalist art like Frank Stella’s “Protractor” paintings and Barnett Newman’s “Zip” paintings. Yet, while this work clearly represents an extension of this lineage, they also address more contemporary issues by virtue of their production in the 21st century.

Curtis Amisich. "Testing 1, 2, 3 ... Your Patience," 2009 from the series "Scrambled Porn." Acrylic and varnish on panel. 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.


In an era when such intricate works could quite easily be produced on a computer, Amisich meticulously executes his paintings in a process that lasts a number of weeks. He begins each painting with a single line, creating adjacent lines that mimic every characteristic of its neighbor – to the extent possible by a human hand. The opticality of this formal approach is enhanced in these paintings through layering and sharp contract. The resulting paintings – with Testing 1, 2, 3 … Your Patience an exemplary example in my mind – are full of movement. It is hard to believe that what appears to vibrate is simply a series of stationary lines.

Curtis Amisich. "I Think I See Something II," 2010 from the series "Scrambled Porn." Acrylic on panel. 60 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

Over the past several years, Amisich has worked on two separate, but closely related, series: Scrambled Porn and Scrambled.  Both bodies of work refer to the act of intense viewership, an ever-pertinent issue in our media-driven society. The most recent “Three Screen Report” by the Nielson Company – which measures TV viewing, online activity, and mobile phone usage – confirms what everyone already suspects: American media consumption continues to rise, with over 35 hours spent watching television and about 4 hours surfing the Internet each week. In Scrambled Porn, Amisich connects this consumption to the distinctive visuality of Op Art by evoking the feel of staring at an electronic screen. He furthers this conversation in Scrambled, where he focuses more intently on the impact of color and the ways they can be mixed, combined and woven together, to beautiful effect in a painting like I Think I See Something II.

A solo exhibition of Amisich’s work, entitled Scrambled; Who’s Afraid of Pink, Yellow and Blue, will open September 7th at Peak Gallery in Toronto.