Downtown gallery features Kent alumni exhibition

Marissa Eisenbrei

The School of Art’s Downtown Gallery ended Richard Lazzaro’s exhibit “Far East to West, A Series of Gouache Works” June 16.

Richard Lazzaro has been an advocate for abstract painting for more than 50 years. The gallery featured 17 large pieces of his work in gouache, a thick-textured watercolor. Brigitta Mills, gallery employee, said the work brought a summer feel to the gallery.

“This work is very vibrant,” Mills said. “I am inspired by it. He does a beautiful job of layering the material.”

Mills said the exhibit attracted a mixture of adults and students. Because it occurred during the summer, the opening was expected to be slow, but Mills said it was actually quite busy. The gallery is free and open to the community.

Lazzaro’s work featured bright colors and abstract shapes. They are related to a type of graffiti and the photos and symbols are similar to the calligraphy in Eastern and island cultures.

“I was surprised to see something so fun to come into our gallery,” Mills said.

The gallery sold the paintings for $1,350 to $8,500. His work has been shown in several museums, art centers and galleries in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America, according to the information at the gallery.

Lazzaro studied at Kent State University, and Kent students were eager to see his work. Freshman zoology major Katie Namen was one of them.

“I’ve been a fan of his work for years, and to see it come to Kent was really exciting for me.” Namen said.

There were three sections of the gallery. The first was “The Ramus Series,” a graffiti-like section, which consisted of wavy strokes of layered, bright colors.

The second section was “The New York Series.” The majority of this section was composed of nonspecific strokes that showed darker feeling.

“The Taiwan Series” was the last of the three. This section was closely related to Eastern calligraphy.

“I loved ‘The Ramus Series,’” Namen said. “The colors just made me happy. They were bright and energetic.”

Lazzaro’s work is represented in over 400 collections.

Contact Marissa Eisenbrei at [email protected].