“Art is magic… But how is it magic? In its metaphysical development? Or does some final transformation culminate in a magic reality? Intruth, the latter is impossible without the former. If creation is not magic, the outcome cannot be magic.”
Tony DeLap is unique in that he has been associated with not one but with so many of the dominant trends of the late-twentieth-century abstraction: minimalism, optical art, primary structures, hard edge painting, California light and space, and site-specific sculpture. His work intentionally eludes categorization. Though he has been linked to the major movementsof the sixties, he hasnever south the immediate visual impact that characterizes the art of that decade. His object constructions, paintings, and sculptures are personal and quirky—not generic or formulaic. They are not instantly assimilated, but take time to understand, experience, and explore.
Born in 1927 in Oakland, California, Tony DeLap grew up in the Bay Area and saw the Golden Gate Bridge being built when he was a child. Heremained in the Bay Area during his formative years. Hisfather was a trial lawyer and a state senatorin Contra Costa County and was known for his meticulous practice and impeccable ethics. Hismother was a product of stolid Pennsylvania Dutch stock.
Tony DeLap’s hybrids of painting and sculpture are impossible objects. Starting in the 1960s, Tony DeLap began to make eccentric hybrids of painting and sculpture, including, from left, “Lompoc,” “Day” and “Maga.” Usually, the front of a painting is the part that counts most. This maquette is for Tony DeLap’s Floating Lady installation at @OCMA. The larger version is a 46-foot wooden beam perched precariously on two concrete plinths. Tony DeLap, Maquette for Floating Lady, 1974–78