Spotlight: Los Angeles Artist Fritz Chesnut Creates Optically Dazzling Paintings Through Intricate Processes

The artist's recent works are currently on view in "Floating Windows" at Louise Alexander Gallery.

Installation view
Installation view "Fritz Chesnut: Floating Windows" 2022. Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery. 

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About the Artist: Los Angeles-based artist Fritz Chesnut creates highly textured and hypnotically patterned artworks inspired by the cosmos, waves, volcanic formations, and other natural and man-made phenomena. The artist makes his works through complex processes of manipulating and effacing the canvases. Applying paint to horizontal canvas, the artist then uses gravity to pull the paint in a variety of directions, creating variegated textures and viscosities. Working through an intuitive process, Chesnut creates works that meld pattern, texture, movement, and material.

Floating Windows,” now on view at Los Angeles’s Louise Alexander Gallery, brings together works Chesnut made over the past two years. 

Why We Like It: Chesnut’s works don’t immediately reveal themselves as paintings. At first glance, they can look alternately like waterstained wallpaper or aerial imagery of mountain ranges or alluvial plains. The works mix together bold fields of color, overlaid with patterns or skeins of paint. Close examination reveals intricate layers of patterns—lines, grids, dots—that Chesnut created using spray paint for an optical effect of depth and dimension.  

Installation view "Fritz Chestnut: Floating Windows" 2022. Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery. 

Installation view “Fritz Chesnut: Floating Windows” 2022. Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery.

According to the Gallery: “By tilting the canvas and letting gravity take over, the skin of sprayed paint drifts, brakes, and warps, at times reforming or spilling off the edge. The resulting works are frozen snapshots of a dynamic event. Open spaces are marred by debris. Fields of color are broken. These paintings mimic the formation of terrestrial surfaces. Chesnut’s work has been often described as topographical, alien, otherworldly, apocalyptic, a synthesis of man-made and organic. Equally informed by Minimalism, Op Art, and the light and space movement as by Xerox art and DIY punk aesthetics, Chesnut’s paintings embody a particular West Coast aesthetic.” 

Pastel Shredder (2021)
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Fritz Chestnut, Pastel Shredder (2021). Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery.

Fritz Chesnut, Pastel Shredder (2021). Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery.

 

Night thing
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Fritz Chesnut, Night thing (2020). Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery.

Fritz Chesnut, Night thing (2020). Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery.

 

Peak Potential (2022)
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Fritz Chesnut, Peak Potential (2022). Courtesy Louise Alexander Gallery.

Fritz Chesnut, Peak Potential (2022). Courtesy Louise Alexander Gallery.

 

Fritz Chesnut: Floating Windows” is on view at Louise Alexander Gallery, Los Angeles, through April 2, 2022. 


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