Essays & Reviews
Artist Run Website:
Editor Dallas Jeffs,
Multimedia artist Alan Disparte uses his work to respond to media and memory, utilizing a range of styles and implements to do so. His portfolio features works in encaustic, paint, photography and video.
Alan’s painted works are truly engrossing, each one packed with a variety of different styles and formal sensibilities, creating pictures that seem to simultaneously reference art history and digitized imagery. Many of these works walk a delicate line between figuration and abstraction, with partial forms and suggestions of figures emerging through clouds of overlapping colour and shape.
The artist’s video works are jarring yet still draw the viewer in with an intense pace and cryptic symbolism. Alan’s technique for making many of his videos seems relatively simple and focused on manual, practical effects. The resulting works have a craft-like, stop-motion aesthetic. Combined with heavily distorted sounds, the imagery produces an interesting feeling of discomfort, and fascination.
Architectures of Chaos:
Abstraction and the Social World,
Alan Disparte’s paintings provide us with a hyperbolic mix of references to
landscape, architecture, technology, animation, dreamscapes, and gestural
abstraction. As a turbulent play of forces Disparte’s work captures something of the problematic of surrealist writing and Jungian archetypes – of letting the unexpected emerge as an inscription of the cultural unconscious – but here it is deployed as a means of exposing the paradoxes of our contemporary moment. Equal parts disaster and nostalgia, Disparte’s prismatic arrangements might be characterizes as a form of counter-futurism where catastrophe is caught up in a recursive relation with the past that erases any sense of assuredness about the present. The dynamic frisson of interlocking motifs in Disparte’s works show us that mixing disparate regimes of signification isn’t just one possibility among many, but that for twenty-first century abstraction to remain relevant, it now appears to be something of a necessity.
The neighborhood news on line:
Disparte’s work encompasses a vast landscape of mediums. His series of video installations combine elements of cartoon kitsch, nature and contemporary culture that are woven together to produce an intimate narrative, all displayed in modern day dioramas. Disparte’s paintings claim the canvas with humorous imagery that with a flip of the brush, magically goes astray. Whether fusing animal and human figures with contrasting angst and naiveté, or painting post modern architectural with Victorian elements, the viewers sensibilities are constantly being challenged.
San Diego Union Tribune, Visual Arts in San Diego:
Robert L. Pincus
In one portion of painter Alan Disparte’s exhibition, there is a tightly grouped number of works. Most envision faces in a semi fantastical mode: a man with donkey ears or a face with some feline features. There is one image with a full-figure rabbit, who possesses an eerily human face.
These faces are convincingly rendered in a style that hovers between expressionist and realist. They seem to be what Disparte, a recent graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute who now works in Los Angeles, does when he wants a detour from his big canvasses.
These larger paintings, the majority portion of his solo show, move in the direction of imaginary architecture, rooms and landscapes. The palette sometimes verges on cartoonish, with its lime green and cheery magenta. And in other cases, it’s subdued and shadowy. Disparte gives us places and objects filtered through the mind’s eye that aren’t premeditated, but take vivid shape on the canvas.
San Francisco Art Magazine:
Disparte layers acrylics on wood panels, creating large cell animation style paintings. He names them ("Swelter", "Helioscope", "Vinedresser") like a bill of rock bands. They aren't exactly without subjects: one recognizes melting snow, a dragon, a host of chevron. Each depicts a space where physics behave as they might in liquid.
Disparte's color, itself allegedly drawn from and depicting the natural, favors the register of blueberries and oranges to that of stone and fawn. The entertaining "Sapphire Brew" depicts red orange tadpoles twisting in a Googie landscape of moss and navy plankton with orange, butterfly shaped sea sheddings. The partial reflection of a four-paneled window and the light blue glare on the creatures themselves indicated they are behind glass. Disparte's technique, which involves both a controlled drip and painting over masking tape that is then removed, creates broken lines and inexactitude. This habit lends to the perception of distance, as color and shapes seem broken when seen from afar. It also allows Disparte to add flashes of intimacy to the painting that permit the viewer to feel specially located relative to the subject. Just when the viewer appears to have the plaintive canvas figured out, Disparte throws in a comic detail. In this case, the translucency of the fish indicates they've been swallowing pink and blue jelly beans.
Similarly, "Milkroom" shows an interior connected to its outer space by unusually strung telephone wires and shifting light from a window. Pink cardinals perched on driftwood outside twist their heads to peer in, sensing a presence. The sun is high on a cord of wood stacked on a slotted shelf. Just below the shelf, a yellow trough appears to be empty save for a snarl of driftwood coolly resting at the bottom. A bough of dried vines connects the upper and the lower portions of the interior but seems to dissipate as it approaches the window. A liquid flicker of red in the corner and radii emanating indicate a dreamlike relationship; the sawn wood is fantasizing about its once animate, outdoor life.
Artweek, 5 from San Francisco, Curated by Francis McCormack:
Disparte's paintings, on the other hand, are the most complicated,
rewarding, and similar in style to McCormack's own work. Abstract in the densest sense, flat geometric forms hover amidst art deco curls, twirls and embellishments. Color reigns supreme and, even though the shapes may or may not be familiar-hints of a falling star appear in Snowdust and flower buds explode across the canvas in Furious Fruit- the play of color, form and shape takes precedence over any reality, real or imagined. Disparte's paintings are a pure joy to look at.