John Pittman – Geometric Painted Objects

John Pittman (b. 1948) is an artist who blurs the lines between painting and sculpture in his abstract and minimalist compositions.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1948, Pittman moved to Chicago in 1971 to pursue his Master of Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute. His first exhibition followed just two years later at the Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The artist has always been fascinated by the straight lines, geometric abstraction, and austere beauty of Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers. Pittman’s work reveals a search for grace, natural elegance, and harmony, in his own words. Light and shadow as well as the interplay of surfaces play an important role in his works.

John Pittman, Deep Olive, 2016, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 35,56 x 22,86 x 3,81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
Deep Olive, 2016, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 35,56 x 22,86 x 3,81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
John Pittman, Albers Square, 2020, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 21.59 x 17.78 x 3.81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
Albers Square, 2020, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 21.59 x 17.78 x 3.81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery

For many years Pittman worked as a custom framer, which can be seen in his work. The abstract lines and shapes are subtle and exude an optical rhythm. The resulting shadows serve as essential compositional elements. In contrast, a closer look reveals irregular engravings between the actively highlighted surfaces. Thus he creates an exciting counterweight to the precise geometry of the overall composition.

In conversation with Jordan Stein, a San Francisco curator, John Pittman emphasizes that for him the creative process is a matter of activity rather than contemplation: “Activity generates ideas, and the process is reinforced by further activity.” Pittman locates his artworks at the intersection of painting and sculpture, referring to them more as “painted objects.”

John Pittman, #280 – Ivory (2 Part), 2018, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 50.8 x 61 x 3.81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
#280 – Ivory (2 Part), 2018, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 50.8 x 61 x 3.81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
John Pittman, Ledge, 2019, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 30.48 x 24.13 x 3.81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
Ledge, 2019, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 30.48 x 24.13 x 3.81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery

Despite his success and presence in the art world, Pittman values solitude and distance from the hustle and bustle of the art world. His works are, as it were, a reflection of this inner calm and focus on the essential.

In its delicacy and harmonious interplay, John Pittman’s art is an impressive example of how geometric abstractions can bring a painting to life. And although he deliberately withdraws from the art world, it is precisely this authentic creative power and creativity that makes his work so special and unique.

My purpose has always been to make beautiful and unique objects.

John Pittman Interview with Jordan Stein
John Pittman, Three Square Sable, 2017, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 31,75 x 49,53 x 3,81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
Three Square Sable, 2017, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 31,75 x 49,53 x 3,81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
John Pittman, Shadow Ash (Triptych), 2014, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 49,53 cm x 99,06 cm x 3,81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery
Shadow Ash (Triptych), 2014, Alkyd/Wood Relief, 49,53 cm x 99,06 cm x 3,81 cm © The Artist via Regards Gallery

Further Reading / Resources

https://johnpittmanstudio.com/
https://regardsgallery.com/ten/jordan-stein-interviews-john-pittman/

Aesence is an independent art and design publication dedicated to minimalist aesthetics. Founded out of a deep appreciation and fascination, Aesence aims to promote awareness and appreciation of minimalism in art and design.