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 Dan Rizzie  (1951 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Texas      Known for: abstract painting, collage, floral studies

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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Biography - Dan Rizzie:
Born, 1951, Poughkeepsie, New York. Currently resides in Sag Harbor, New York.
1975  M.F.A., Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
1973  B.F.A., Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas
2005  Distinguished Alumnus Award, Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas

Following is an exhibition review by Randy Lerner of "The Geometry of Innocent Flesh on the Bone."

People come at making their art from any number personal journeys- some real, some imaginative; some superbly dramatic and some, like Dan Rizzie’s**, just destined to be the raw material for a far-ranging language of symbols which this show demonstrates have been drawn from memory, observation and I suspect the artist’s subconscious as well.  This body of work cuts-across compositional themes and arrangements which reveal Rizzie’s rare ability to stretch and evolve shapes and colors and surfaces into a signature style that is likely to remain identifiable and lasting.
Dan Rizzie’s early life was nearly written by T.H. White himself.  His father was an Airman during the Second World War and went on to a diplomatic career that took his family to many areas of the world that would inform the future artist’s language of symbols- probably most importantly their years in India during which DR was in high school.  As varied and exotic as the travels that would drive and impact Rizzie’s work, however, were the people that coursed through his life as he and his many-decades old friends received their rites and credentials from the streets and studios, bars and buildings of Manhattan just as had several generations of American artists done before them.  Aware of this inheritance, Rizzie evolved a deeply idiosyncratic methodology for arranging his alphabet through a variety of media in collage, easel painting and printmaking- all of which are included in this show.
Each of the works shown here were created in Sag Harbor, NY were Rizzie has lived for the last fifteen years. And loosely knitting them together is a gift that was given to DR by the artist Alan Shields who was a dear friend and also was a ferryboat captain and who lived on the neighboring Shelter Island.  The gift was of a large black steel (anchor) ball connected to a beautiful, rustic old chain that Rizzie hung from a tree branch at the end of his driveway.  This black circle hung in the distance among the branches some twenty feet outside of Rizzie’s studio. What’s more, it was and remains visible through the studio doors which are essentially garage doors although they are made of mullioned windows divided in roughly 16 inch squares.  When put together, one can see that Rizzie was looking at this suspended black ball through a frame, under glass and constantly cropped depending, naturally, on where he stood.  As a result, Vine, etching and Serpentine deal with essentially the same subject but from different angles and distances.

These factors- both physical, visual and accidental created an ensemble that recurs formally and thematically throughout much of the last decade’s work.  It also ties together some of his earlier work and thinking- reinforcing the sense that he is constantly evolving as he connects and layers-on the influences and experiences that have impacted him both directly and indirectly.  Simply, whether the black circles become geometric elements as in Dunce or SABOR, or berries from Vine, Serpentine or Gypsy Moth and Susan’s Garden or more abstracted decorative symbols like in Wild Carnation and Swallow (Untitled), they’ve become a ubiquitous vowel within Rizzie’s alphabet.
From the black ball and the green branches, balls and circles of many colors among branches and additional nature symbols such as tulips, chrysanthemums and poppies emerge as central icons which DR both draws, paints, prints and pastes in compositions using various media.  The branches evolve as well into neo-classical scrolls or what Rizzie calls arabesques which again become formal  and symbolic themes, like musical phrases as in Vessel, Mondrian’s Flower, Nizamuddin, Window and Swallow (Untitled).

What emerges is Rizzie’s principal compositional device which amounts to arrangements- the ordering of his alphabetic symbols in whole, quarter and endless other divided forms resembling in that way his own applied or adapted musical work. He has abstracted these symbols- of balls, still-lifes, vines and scrolls- and created an alphabet from which he then organizes for the most part flat, in-focus colorific arrangements that succeed because of their relationship to each other, just as do instrumental arrangements. And to know Rizzie is to know the dramatic affect the music and musicians have had on his thinking, his friendships and therefore his art-making.
The title of this essay comes from a line in Bob Dylan’s Tombstone Blues, which I heard DR sing while sitting at the electric piano in his studio.  In asking Rizzie his thoughts about the work in this show he mentioned more than once that the vines and scrolls and stems had become “vascular systems” or abstracted bone- structures for the leaves, flowers and balls and birds.  Whether formally as in Starlings/Orange and Black (etching) or Starlings/Black and White (etching), Raven (etching), Vines (etching) or more in the abstract as in Order of Summer or even Window, the intersection of musical influences, musical composition and language become strongly evident in Rizzie’s work.
In Yellow Plum and Susan’s Garden, and to a more limited degree Wild Carnation, Red Rose, Mondrian’s Flower, Window and Nizamuddin, Rizzie’s longstanding use of collage amounts to the compositional device at work.  Yellow Plums in particular is one of many, many widely collected collages made from Rizzie’s vast archive of printed flowers and fruits as well as stamps and writing fragments among endless other decorative ephemera.  These tightly cropped sheets and painted circles arranged geometrically around the centered printed still-life perhaps best illustrates DR’s effortless mingling of symbols, media and shapes within an expertly unified image.
Across nearly all of the works, to include his prints (and the use of chine colle, in which he glues an additional layer of paper to that which will be printed to enhance the decorative background-Aspidistra, etching), Rizzie’s use of surfaces as a core component in his art-making stands out.  I suspect from his very early interest in collage, which in his case deals directly with the layering and overlapping of materials, he developed a process of preparing his surfaces, which amount essentially to under-paintings, with inks and glues as well as newspaper, stamps and cards bound by thick, milky coats of gesso.  He does this to recreate the bony, textured surfaces that the berries and balls and leaves and still-lifes would be connected to or set against in nature.  He also, and equally importantly, builds up his surfaces to establish a sense of permanence against which his aged and found objects, as well as printed and written fragments, can be fixed.
Finally, there is Hawthorne.  I’ve treated this painting last because I think it is the most forward-looking.  It is the latest development in Rizzie’s work and was foreshadowed in some prints- especially Starlings/ Orange and Black, etching and____, that were made in a project with printmaker Maurice Payne and friends and fellow artists Stephen Farthing, R.A. and Humphrey Ocean, R.A. in 2004, in Amagansett, NY.  Initially, Rizzie began to abstract the background armatures- whether branches or vines to where they are no longer in focus as they both advance and recede producing a new depth to his compositions.  It is at this moment that Rizzie’s work enters a next stage of evolution; the compositions are no longer flat, masterly choreographed surfaces but rather dimensioned spaces capable of a whole new narrative component because of the layered depth that DR introduces.
While a “collection” of DR’s current work, this show also harkens back and looks forward I believe very effectively.  From an emphasis on collage and the use of symbols, surface and color as a device often to stage a central image, such as in Mondrian’s Flower, Red Rose, Wild Carnation and inimitably in Window, to Hawthorne where Rizzie begins to looking around and behind the his structures, we are given a good look into what will be a very real turning point.  Throughout his career Rizzie has relied on his instinct for composition using other various elements- whether random printed fragments or deeply painted shapes and symbols- to complete the image.  His shift toward a more abstract ordering of space and therefore handling of his vocabulary leaves the viewer with much, I believe, with which to look forward.  Finally, and critically, Rizzie has stayed loyal to the symbols that have expressed his ideas and given life to his imagination throughout his career- even in his newest paintings.  And this is why collectors of his work from all periods have the pleasure of seeing elements of their Rizzies throughout and looking forward.

* “…The Geometry of Innocent flesh on the Bone…” comes from Bob Dylan’s Tombstone Blues, which was recorded on Highway 61 Revisited.


Craz, Betsy. “A Cinema Toast,” In Style, November, 1999; p. 304
“Festival,” The East Hampton Star, October 28, 1999; Sec. III, p. 20.
Weiss, Marion Walberg. “Honoring the Artist: Dan Rizzie,” Dan’s Papers, October 15, 1999.   
Weideman, Paul. “Rizzie wears down surface of emerging memories, New Delhi to Arkansas – and back?”
Pasatiempo, The New Mexican, October 1-7, 1999; p.18-19.
Sansegundo, Sheridan. “Dan Rizzie on His Career,” At the Galleries, The East Hampton Star, August 5, 1999; Sec. III, p.7.
Taylor, Nelson. “Dan Rizzie, painter,” Fine Arts, Hamptons Country, July, 1999; p. 42.
Austin Chronicle, July 30, 1999
Peppard, Alan. “New York’s Texas Accent,” Dallas Morning News, July 4, 1999; p. 4E.
Thomas, Michael. “Want a Hot Treatise on the Sanity of Riches?”
The New York Observer, June 28-July 5, 1999; p. 13
deMontravel, Jaqueline. “Exhibition,” Portfolio, Hamptons Country, June, 1999; p. 125.
Knight, Molly, Brodsky, Renatt. “What’s Hot: The Hamptons,” DNR, May 26, 1999; p. 13.
Natasi, Leigh Mary. “Lizan Tops on Top,” Art, Attractions, The Independent, May 26, 1999; p. B15-B16.
Spencer, Dorothy. “Design in Bloom,” Design Forum, March/April 1999; p.14.
Braff, Phyliss. “Sometimes a Blur Can Be Clarifying,” Art Reviews, The New York Times, March 21, 1999; p. 16I.
Peppard, Alan. “Hanging at Javier’s,” Dallas Morning News, March 29, 1999; p. 19A.
Thomas, Michael M. “Art as Posession,” Portfolio, Hamptons Country, September, 1998; p. 143-148.

Braff, Phyliss, “A Photographic Return to Places and People,” Art Review, New York Times, April 5, 1998.
Sanegundo, Sheridan. “Dan Rizzie, A Painter Puts Down Roots,” The Arts, The East Hampton Star, February 4, 1998; Sec. III, p. 1.

Johnson, Richard. “Keeping Busy,” New York Post, October 19, 1996.
Fort Worth Star Telegram, August 13, 1995; Sec. F, p. 5. Teitelbaum, Diane. “Grapevine,”
Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1995; p. 4F.

Kutner, Janet. “Collaborations Yield Big MAC Fun,” Art Review, Dallas Morning News, November 9, 1994.
“Famed Artist Plays Major Role in Renovation,” Northpark Central Advertising
Supplement, Dallas Business Journal, July 29-August 5, 1994; p. 4 “Flatbed Press,” Editions Report, Spring Press, New York, Summer, 1994.
“Flatbed Press in Austin announces its first portfolio…,” The Print Collector’s Newsletter, July-August, 1994; Vol. XXXV, No. 3.
“Helander Shows Collage Artist, Rizzie,” Sjostrom, Palm Beach Daily News, March 14.

Goad, Kimberly. “Prodigal artist returns, though Dan Rizzie makes it just a visit,” Dallas Morning News, July 11, 1993.
Kutner, Janet and Lewis, JoAnn. “What’s Art? What’s Not?” Sunday Reader, Dallas Morning News, November 28, 1993; Sec. J.
Peppard, Alan. “Rizzie returns,” Today, Dallas Morning News, June 26, 1993; p. 1C.
Goad, Kimberly. “The Making of a Legend, Roasting and Toasting James Surls,” High Profile, Dallas Morning News, July 4, p. 4E.
Sachson, Gail. “ Businesses, individuals, leasing art these days. And it works.” Park Cities People, December 23, 1993; p. 5.

Hall, Rosanna. “Tracking the Superstar,” Santa Fe Reporter, August 14-20, 1991; Vol. 17, Issue 8.
Primeau, Marty. “Wild at Art,” SMU Magazine, Summer, 1991; Vol. 41, No. 3, p. 15.
Thomas, Alice B. “Art Show judges perspective global,” Alexandria Daily News,
Alexandria-Pineville, Louisiana, April 12, 1991; p. C1.  “High Profile, 10 th Anniversary Issue,” Dallas Morning News, September 22, 1991; p. 13E.
“Modernism Redefined,” Southern Accents, 1991; p. 64-65.
 “Peyton arts winners,” Alexandria Daily News, Alexandria-Pineville, Louisiana, April 23, 1991; p. C2.

Selected Collections   
American Airlines
American Embassy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
AT&T Corporate Center, Chicago, Illinois
Cadillac Fairview
Cigna Investment, Inc., Dallas, Texas
City of Phoenix, Arizona
Cleveland Browns Football Club, Cleveland, Ohio
Crescent Hotel, Dallas, Texas
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas
Delta Airlines
El Paso Museum of Art. Texas
Enron Corporation, Houston, Texas
Fidelity Investments
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York
Hendrix College, Conway Arkansas
Hyatt Hotels
LTV Center, Dallas, Texas
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
MBNA America
Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, Arizona
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Mobil Oil
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas
New York Public Library, New York   
Nona & Richard Barrett Collection, Texas
Northern Trust Bank of Texas, Houston, Texas
San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas
Scottsdale Museum of  Contemporary Art, Scottsdale,  Arizona
Sprint Telephone, Dallas, Texas
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
The Ogden Collection Louisiana
United States Department of State, Washington, D.C.
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

Website of the Artist

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following text by Alan Peppard is from the blog of The Dallas Morning News, 5/28/2013.

Former Dallas-based painter Dan Rizzie took the big plunge. After a mere 60-plus years as a bachelor, Rizzie married his girlfriend of 18 years, fellow artist Susan Lazarus-Reimen, last week in New York City.

“I don’t like to rush into anything,” says Rizzie.

Once upon a time, Dan was the star of the Dallas art scene and lived in his artist garret across from the Stoneleigh Hotel.

Rizzie is originally from New York, however, and he and Lazarus both live and work in tony Sag Harbor, Long Island.

In October, Mr. and Mrs. Rizzie are traveling to Arbizzo, Italy. There, in the little church where Dan’s grandmother was baptized, they will exchange vows with Dan’s sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Peter York, serving as witnesses.

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