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Geological Landscape II, 1960
Norman ZammittAmerican, b. Canada, 1931-2007
oil and collage on canvas
45 x 49 x 2-1/2 in. (114.3 x 124.5 x 6.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Shirley Baskin Familian
© 2011 Estate of Norman Zammitt
Not on view
Although he was born in Toronto, Norman Zammitt went on to leave an indelible mark on the Southern California art scene. Zammitt received degrees from both Pasadena City College and Otis College of Art and Design, and later taught art at the University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and California Institute of the Arts. His exposure to OpArt and interest in color theory led him to create an extraordinary body of work that encompasses sculpture, lithography and painting. He has been included in such collections as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Although Geological Landscape II is radically different from the large canvases of rich, gradational color for which Norman Zammitt is best known, the painting nevertheless speaks to an interest in landscape that occupied the artist throughout his career. In this early work, pieces of linen, wood, paper and paint appear to define a cross section of earth, with a white horizon above. In palette and material, the work is indisputably tied to the found-art assemblages that his colleague Edward Kienholz was creating at the time. At their core Zammitt’s pictures are inspired by his physical environment, and the suggestion of geological strata in this work, emphasized by the carefully arranged collage elements, speaks to these interests. A decade later Zammitt began to create monumental paintings like Buffalo Blue (Gift of Robert Davidson in 2007), in which horizontal bands of meticulously blended color recall the light and landscape of his adopted home in Southern California.
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