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Polished Frescoes: Art by Paul Catalanotto

An abstract polished fresco with warm colorsCalm and Turbulent, polished fresco

Paul Catalanotto is a New York-based artist who specializes in colorful abstract polished frescoes. Having worked previously as an artisan plasterer, Paul’s inspiration for his innovative technique came from his work plastering upscale architectural elements with commissioned designs.


A triangular fresco with abstract colorsNot a Bermuda Triangle, polished fresco

Paul usually begins his process by laying down a layer of black plaster, which in his artist statement he likens to his “universe.” I really enjoy the idea that Paul is essentially “playing god” as he creates his works, determining where planes of pigment will land as though arranging matter in the vacuum of space. While I tend to think of frescoes as heavily textured, something like the work of Nella Lush, Paul’s frescoes are as smooth as still water and create the illusion that one is looking through a window at a swirling mass of color – similar to the works of Luis Pagan, though with more straight lines and hard edges.


A screen capture of the front page of Paul Catalanotto's art websiteThe front page of Paul's portfolio website


I also enjoy the tendency for Paul’s works to hint at hazy figures or slightly obscured landscapes. Something about the way the plaster is often layered on horizon lines suggests fantastic scenes and places. 

A polished fresco in an elongated rectangular shapeWhat's Left, polished fresco


About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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