Polished Frescoes: Art by Paul Catalanotto
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.
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.
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.