Outdoor Palette: Fritz Gross

Lake in Spring, 80" x 88" oil on wooden folding screen, 1995

“A mistake is beside the point, for once anything happens, it authentically is.” John Cage

I asked Fritz Gross if he experienced angst as an artist; if he considered any of his paintings failures. He looked a bit surprised, shrugged, and said “No. Nor do I look at them as successes. They just are.”

Gross’s paintings are his response to the lively domestic life he has on his farm in rural Vermont. He explained that part of his artistic process is to allow chance circumstances and urges to have a role in determining the form and content of his artwork.

Gross is a native of Switzerland and is entirely self-taught. He got his start as a house painter in Zurich before immigrating to the United States and moving into the New York City art world. There, he painted controversial murals on city buildings and showcased at local art galleries before moving to Vermont in the late 1980s.

Gross’ paintings are strong, exuberant, magical, totemic, and often frightening. Highly fanciful figures and forms appear again and again as if characters in a life-long enigmatic narrative. The work is balanced, with a confident visual presence. Common images in the paintings are houses, fish, toothy wolves, and dancing heads, all painted in cartoon-like simplicity with highly saturated color. Gross explains that the placement of each grouping of images is intuitive and unpredictable.

Late in Spring transports us out of our familiar landscape into a chimerical world of pure imagination.

Fritz can be reached through his website: fritzgross.com


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