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Painter Georgianne Fastaia: The Distressed Aesthetic

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Painter Georgianne Fastaia: The Distressed Aesthetic


By Sharon Feissel

Many artists produce exciting work simply by using time-validated procedures and techniques. However, those methods don’t allow Georgianne Fastaia the degree of innovation and individuality she seeks in her art. In developing her unorthodox technique of scrubbing canvases, Georgianne has embraced what she calls “the distressed aesthetic.” Art critic Brian Sherwin, editor of The Art Edge, has said, “I enjoy the physicality of Georgianne’s methods. The raw quality captures a psychological vibe that begs me to think about the meaning behind the images – and the visual relationship between the artist and viewer. These works provide viewers with a raw narrative...one that is both alluring and haunting.”  

Ballet ClassGeorgianne explains her approach. “I cover each canvas with layers of paint. Later I pour Murphy’s oil soap onto the canvas which I tilt to create drips. The soap, used to clean brushes, was a surprising discovery. It eats away layers of paint in what I call “lifts.” So I actively damage and then rebuild the surface, revealing underlying “ghosts” of imagery and color. The process is completely unpredictable and requires me to take a fearless leap of faith. Giving up control forces me to stay lighthearted and adaptable to the painting’s evolution, while staying sensitive to the moments of beauty as they are revealed.”

She continues, “I believe to make art with all the questions answered deprives the viewer of the joy of discovery and of participating in the act of creation. The choices I make between figuration and abstraction, between what is implied and what is revealed, serve to pull viewers into the painting’s surface and leave them with questions.” Clearly, Georgianne is after something intriguing, something obviously different, something that will stop viewers in their tracks, as her very successful work tends to do. 

Georgianne is putting the final touches on a new show. “This show is entitled Togetherness, a relationship you will see in a range of paintings from a pair of horses to a group of young ballet dancers.” Aficionados can expect to find her signature abstracted figures and whimsical horses, cows, sheep, and dogs. A color catalog will be available.  The Togetherness show will run from September 7 through November 6 at Riverfront Art Gallery, 132 Petaluma Blvd. in Petaluma.

Not only has Sherwin recognized the value of Georgianne’s work, but her art has also been featured in Artweek Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the July 2009 issue of ELLE Décor magazine, as well as in prominent galleries. Nieto Fine Art Gallery created a video of Georgianne for a solo exhibition in 2011. See YouTube - Nieto Fine Art - Georgianne Fastaia.