The Views from Above paintings of Pacifica artist Jamey Brzezinski of Pacifica are large, door-sized (40”x72”) acrylic paintings on canvas depicting overhead views of well-manicured suburban California landscapes. Featuring pools and fountains surrounded by circles, arcs, stripes and rectangles of incisively rendered tile, concrete, slate and terrazzo bathed in bright noonday sunlight, they combine elements of David Hockney’s vibrant California paradise with the complex geometry of Frank Stella.
Viewers who assume that drone photography informs these striking images from 2003-12 will be surprised to learn that they are entirely invented, predating the drone era. The 1977 genesis of the series was in fact Brzezinski's fascination with the textures and patterns of rock, water and mud that he trudged through in a college parking lot.
His images are imagined into being, one detail at a time, with each day’s paint—a giornata, in the terminology of Renaissance mural-painting—suggesting the next day’s work. Brzezinski, a skilled improvisatory musician, makes it up as he goes along, without preparatory sketches or preplanning, and without erasures or corrections, guided by instinct, imagination and decades of painting experience.
Brzezinski: As time went by I realized these were metaphors for the California experience, where East meets West, Latin and Asian influences converge aesthetically, often humorously, and frequently in a manner of breathtaking beauty. And beauty, simple decorative beauty, motivates these works…. But really, can visual art have any greater goal than beauty in all its meanings? These works want to massage and caress the eye, suggest warmth and depth, and above all make the world a more beautiful place.
Jamey Brzezinski studied at Humboldt State University and California College of Arts & Crafts. His long career includes editorial cartooning, art criticism (Bay Area newspapers, as well as Artweek, where he served as Northern California editor in the early 1990s), and teaching (at many local universities, most notably, Merced College, 1992-2012). He has participated in countless group and solo exhibitions, including recent retrospectives at California State University Stanislaus and the Carnegie Art Center. His work is in many private collections, as well as the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Brzezinski is represented by Hang Gallery, San Francisco.
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