North Wall197696 x 168 in.(243.84 x 426.72 cm) acrylic on canvas
ProvenancePrivate Institution Collection, Wisconsin
ExhibitionLos Angeles, The Getty Center, "Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture 1950-1970", October 1, 2011 - February 5, 2012
North Wall was exhibited at the Getty Museum in the Pacific Standard Time exhibition tracing the history of art in L.A. from 1945 to 1980, which reignited interest in Light and Space and brought fresh eyes to the work of Norman Zammitt. For this piece, the artist measured the width of each band and created parabolic graphs to calculate the exacting color progression — not only for aesthetic precision, but also for emotional and spiritual effect. The colors seem to radiate as they shift from dark bands of black and blue to fiery yellows, oranges and reds. The hard edges of these bands bring to mind the school of L.A. artists who worked in geometric abstraction during the same period, predominantly the 1960s and ’70s, particularly Karl Benjamin's classic stripe paintings. But Zammitt’s ethereal pictures defy any such classification. His edges appear seamless — a moment in space frozen in time. The expanse evokes a sky in its full coastal California drama, although that was not necessarily the artist’s intention. Rather, he might have used these as an approach to the sublime — portal to a mystical realm. His late, longtime dealer, Joni Gordon of Newspace, suggested the exacting bands of brilliant color relate to Native Indian sand paintings.