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John DiPaolo

San Francisco, CA

DiPaolo, who has painted in an Abstract Expressionist style for forty years, proves, with his powerful orchestrations of color and gesture, which art historian Peter Selz characterizes as “rhythmic dispositions of color and shape in space,” that the art world, with its reflexive love of callow novelties, and its slavery to fashion, should take a longer and deeper view.

Born in Brooklyn in 1946, DiPaolo studied in the mid-1960s at the School of Visual Arts with Janet Fish, Eugene Karlin, and Francis Criss, and he found his artistic horizons vastly expanded in the heady, experimental New York art scene, with Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism and conceptualism in spirited competition. While he made paintings under the influence of Pop artist James Rosenquist, and the Surrealist René Magritte, he discerned in Frank Stella’s revolutionary pin-stripe paintings (improbably, since they defy AbEx orthodoxy), “a larger understanding of space, form, and reality” that would influence his later abstractions. After moving to the Bay Area in 1971, Di Paolo enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied with Jack Jefferson, Carlos Villa, Julius Hatofsky, Rupert Garcia, Helene Aylon, and Sam Tchakalian, In the mid-70s, he enrolled in graduate school at San Francisco State University, studying with Robert Bechtle, Karen Breschi, Richard McLean, and the figurative sculptor Stephen De Staebler (whose work is represented by Dolby Chadwick Gallery, as are the paintings of Guy Diehl, DiPaolo’s classmate at SFSU). De Staebler’s physical, AbEx-style engagement with clay might be seen as similar to DiPaolo’s visceral combat/collaboration with paint in the abstract paintings he began making in grad school.
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