Margaret Lazzari's new body of work, entitled "Wild Biology," embodies and communicates the robust, wild exuberance of the biological world. In this work, Lazzari makes the point that our apparently solid world is mostly a void that contains dispersed specks of matter animated by vibrating energy. In developing a visual equivalent for this fundamental quality of the physical world, Lazzari, whose past reputation is based largely on her figurative compositions, looked for natural phenomena that have an open “architecture” or network quality, such as star clusters, aerial views of landforms, erosion patterns, waves in liquid, turbulence, entangled plants, falling autumn leaves, and flocks of perched birds. In the process of developing this new, mainly non-figurative vocabulary, Lazzari has also employed fractal diagrams and line drawings from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. By layering these elements, she creates complex paintings with rich coloring, rhythmically repeating imagery, and dense compositions – paintings which tell the story of a natural world, alive and mysterious with an intricate network of systems and a mind of its own.
In 2000 Lazzari was the subject of a retrospective exhibition originating at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside CA. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe and she has received several grants, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Her books have challenged the way art is taught in higher education. She was the first to integrate digital media into foundations education in her book, Art and Design Fundamentals (1991). Lazzari also authored The Practical Handbook for the Emerging Artist (second edition, 2002) and Exploring Art: A Global, Thematic Approach (third edition, 2007). Lazzari has worked as a curator and an art critic and has chaired panels and delivered papers at the College Art Association national conferences and at symposia at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Lazzari was born in St. Louis, and received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 1977. She is a Professor of Studio Art in the School of Fine Arts of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.