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On The Cover: John Fallon

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Oil on Canvas
  • Oil on Canvas

For John Fallon, whose Origin #3 graces this month's cover, it's all about the joy. "I like this blended stripe format," he says. "I like the whole process, I like the primary colors. I had been working in oils doing these, and then I found I didn't want to do that anymore, so I started experimenting with acrylics.

Then Fallon, who maintains studio space in the Erector Square arts compound (birthplace of the iconic Erector Set toys) in New Haven, Connecticut and participates in the city's annual open studios tour, was invited to install a 16-foot piece composed of what he calls his "gestural stripes" as an outdoor mural in the public art friendly Westville neighborhood. That was in January 2016, and the experience of creating such a large piece further influenced his technique. "I did the really large public piece more or less as a lark," Fallon says, "but the experience of scaling the stripes up to 20 times their normal size led me to certain developments and simplifications that I've continued to use in the smaller pieces."

New Haven is Fallon's hometown; he was first seduced by art as a high school student. "I had an inspiring teacher, a sculptor who made these fantastic hammered lead faces. I started trying my hand at Van Gogh copies." Right after high school, a serious motorcycle crash sidelined him from typical teenage activities, and as he recovered he took to spending his days painting in his father's garage in Atlanta, where the family had relocated.

Fallon did his undergraduate work at the Atlanta School of Art and went on to the Art Institute of Chicago for his MFA in painting, which he received in 1979. He's been pursuing his love of form and color ever since in a variety of media and styles. "My primary focus has been abstract work of a constructivist nature, exploring color, symmetries, and spatial illusion," he says.

Within the stripe pieces, he's found a lot of scope for the playful painting he loves. "I get completely focused on the method within each stripe, and each is different," he says. "Some are transparencies, some are thicker stuff. I use sprays and stencils; sometimes I roll the paint on and sponge it off until I'm satisfied. Sometimes I draw into a tripe with water-based marker or insert some small object—a coin, a wire—and spray over it for a shadow effect. I just work until I'm happy with it or get drawn to something else. My method is organic; it just morphs with time. It's engaging and fun, but you end up with a lot of paintings."

Meeting gallery owner Francis Rick Gillette was a boost. "I met Rick when I was in a smaller show in Hudson, and when somebody you respect gives you a push, it's heartening," he says.

"Performance: Paintings by John Fallon" are on exhibit through May 31 at Gillette's FRG Objects & Design/ Art gallery, on the second floor at 217 Warren Street in Hudson. Frgdesignart.com. Portfolio: Johnfallonart.com.

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