With shades of hot pink, soft lavender and acid yellow splashed over shapes tinged with soot, Ali Beletic’s paintings are as vibrant and layered as a peeling wall of concert posters. A swath of matte indigo appears to have been lifted away, teasing a glimmer of depth and the sense of motion. Tension is found in a brash, spray-painted scrawl over a light-infused surface.
Abstract painting, however, is just a sliver of Oceanside-based Beletic’s range. She’s also a singer-songwriter and performer, art director for film and the creator of sprawling environmental works and sculptures. On a flat canvas, she conjures a similar energy with the goal of recreating the exhilaration of communal experiences. “I see these paintings as analogous to my larger-scale installation work,” she explains. Perhaps surprisingly, she doesn’t view the 2D format as limiting. “Give a creative person boundaries and suddenly they’ll say, ‘Oh, there’s a lot of space here. I can do a lot.’ ”
Building upon her background in film and inspired by everything from ancient art to Picasso’s Cubist sense of perspective, Beletic’s paintings explore varied points of view and narration. “We’ve inherited this moment in time when we are exposed to so much all at once,” she muses. “I’m juxtaposing many stories simultaneously.”
The artist, whose works are sold on Tappan, often trowels clay directly onto her canvases. Her use of ground pigments, botanical dyes and crushed minerals creates stratified colors that evoke the heft of water-carved rock and the matte saturation of wet plaster. Applying oil and acrylic paint using cloth, sponges and brushes—tools Beletic often makes herself from plant materials—gives rise to forms that conjure land masses and cityscapes.
She might utilize a burnt stick to create dark, gestural marks. She might scribble in vibrant neon hues or bright whites. These inscriptions are impressionistic and, like scattered balloons or confetti, nod at performance art. “I feel like all of my work not only has this grounding in earth and humanity, but also in a sense of party, celebration and vibrancy,” Beletic says.
Between recent shows in Los Angeles, New York and Mexico and a new music project in the works, she isn’t slowing down. “I have a very intrinsic sentiment of what I want to put in the world,” she states. “And there are multiple threads to it.”