The paperworks of Margaret Lanzetta are a natural extension of her paintings and translate the conceptual and technical processes of layering, accretion, and addition through silk-screen, frottage, and stamp printing into a paper medium. Her geometric patterns are derived from physical materials or photographed sources, which she manipulates digitally to achieve the right scale and proportion before transferring them to nylon photo silk-screens and mylar stencils. Pigmented cotton and linen pulps are worked with the screens, layer upon layer, wet on wet, to create the composition. Color functions simultaneously as substance, tonality, mood, and depth. Once the pulp screening is finished and placed on a cotton base sheet, the entire work is pressed to extract water and then dried on aluminum panels to achieve a polished, matte surface. Lanzetta is particularly interested in the continuity and repetition of visual systems that have traveled both in time and place. A good example is an ancient Chinese design of interlocking circles, which reappears today in the form of a plastic grid to place over fluorescent light box fixtures sold in Chinatown on Canal Street in New York City. Her recent paperworks show intersections of anonymous industrial patterns and nature, such as the form of a snowflake repeated as the imprint on the bottom of a green plastic strawberry container. Lanzetta makes a metaphysical link between culture and nature in her search for intimacy through seemingly impersonal structures.
The title of Margaret Lanzetta’s God’s Memory alludes to a spiritual perfect but ironically presents an irregularity in pattern and design. The artist’s hand is clearly present in her work whose stark black-and-white plant background competes with the gray, crisscrossing grid-like lines of varying thickness painted on it. This work exemplifies a cooperation between natural and synthetic patterns that were digitally altered for scale. Where there is a suggestion of symmetry, asymmetry rules. As a result, chaos and order play in an abstract field that has links to the organic and non-figurative decoration of Islamic art and architecture.
The residency allowed me to explore combinations of industrial and organic systems, something that I have been thinking about for a while. Creating more lush, numerous layers in the paper work definitely enhanced my painting.
—Margaret Lanzetta, 1998
Margaret Lanzetta received a BA from Holy Cross College and a MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Margaret has also studied at Tyler School of Art in Rome, the Studio Art Center International in Florence, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Some of her residency work has been acquired for the permanent public collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Fogg Museum, The New York Public LIbrary, the British Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.