A California native, Peter Lodato began making work in the late 1960s as part of the West Coast-specific Light and Space movement. Aligned with the concerns of his contemporaries, Lodato first constructed light installations that explored the nature of perception and the way that physical environments could be transformed into immersive experiences for the viewer. Lodato’s paintings evolved from his preliminary drawings for these installations and eventually, Lodato was able to recreate the illusive effect of light with color, form, and canvas alone.
Always fascinated by the uncertainty of human perception, and the duplicitous nature of vision, which can be both revealing and deceitful, Lodato creates paintings that delve into this duality. Upon first read they are austere, geometric abstractions. After further observation, however, the paintings begin to vibrate: brushstrokes become evident and the surface reveals that there are numerous layers beneath. The hard edges of his often bi-chromatic works dissipate into sensuous fields of color that seem to push space in and out.
Lodato’s reductive, divided compositions are visual confrontations between the planar simplicity of form and the resonance of particular pigments. A disciple of the AbEx color field painter, Barnett Newman, Lodato’s sumptuously colored canvases echo Newman’s concept of using division as a way to merge different areas of the canvas into a sublime whole. Much like Newman’s “zips” of color, Lodato’s vertical bands draw the viewer deeply into the picture plane, causing them to intensely experience the work, both physically and emotionally.
The Frederick Weisman Foundation curated an extensive solo retrospective of Lodato’s work in 2000 and his work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Peter Lodato is in numerous esteemed collections both public and private including the Brooklyn Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art.