Norma Alonzo has always taken her painting life seriously, albeit privately. An extraordinarily accomplished artist, she has been painting for over 25 years. Beginning as a landscape painter, she quickly transitioned to an immersion in all genres to experiment and learn.
Initially, Alonzo was torn between professions – the arts or a career in architecture. She chose the arts, graduating from San Jose State University in San Jose, California with a degree in Interior Design. After working in this field and ultimately heading her own design firm, her focus turned to the creation of fine art. Under the mentorship of Richard Lees (artist and art historian of Pasadena, California), Alonzo was encouraged toward honesty in her painting without judgment, without expectation, and without the confines of outside demanding interests.
Through her paintings, Alonzo examines our place, metaphysically and functionally, in the midst of today’s fast-paced world. For Alonzo, it has been a year of painting dangerously. Experimentation with the formal elements of line, form, mass and texture are now in play. More importantly, the guiding principle is fearlessness in the use of color and space.
Of her current work, Alonzo states, “Abstract painting has pushed its way into everything I have done. I am forever manipulating line, color, and shape into something more. For many years I have been playing, experimenting, and learning what the different mediums can do. Researching art history, painters, their methods…At this point in my painting life I am an amalgam of my experimental/learning years, my love of landscape (the ultimate abstract), color, decor, art history, and my own life journey.”
The visual experience of Alonzo’s newest body of work reflects her many years in California and the regional/global influence of the Post-War Bay Area Figurative movement. Specifically dominant are Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922 – 1993) and Wayne Thiebaud (American, b. 1920). In addition, Alonzo cites Henri Matisse (French, 1869 – 1954) as inspiration.
A major life-changing event imposed and necessitated a profound emotional overhaul. She relocated to beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico and found the space to heal, strengthen and create. She has reached a new appreciation for her life’s work and embraces the potency of her exploration of self-reflection, beauty and redemption in her paintings.
“I have painted for many years always with the notion that it was only for me. I no longer feel this way… I have something powerful to share…I have a distinct view point and I see tremendous value in it.”
After 25 years painting, Alonzo has come to a place where she believes she has something to offer, something to put forth into the world. 2017 marks the first venture into the larger art world for Alonzo.
Interestingly, Diebenkorn was also incredibly moved by his exposure to Matisse, specifically the paintings French Window at Collioure and View of Notre-Dame, both from 1914. For Diebenkorn the experience of these Matisse works ascribed tremendous weight to his own celebrated Ocean Park series of paintings.