Texas artist Aaron Parazette, left, and assistant Martin Ivy put finishing touches on the blue aspect of his mural, "Blue Norther" in the lobby of 2100 Ross Ave, formerly the San Jacinto Tower, in downtown Dallas. The mural is an abstract interpretation of the weather phenomena when a cold front meets warm air.

Texas artist Aaron Parazette, left, and assistant Martin Ivy put finishing touches on the blue aspect of his mural, "Blue Norther" in the lobby of 2100 Ross Ave, formerly the San Jacinto Tower, in downtown Dallas. The mural is an abstract interpretation of the weather phenomena when a cold front meets warm air.

Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer

Thunder rolls across the sky as a clap of lightning is seen in the distance. Shades of blue are highlighted by cracks of orange. It is this picturesque view of a Texas summer thunderstorm forming that served as inspiration for a new mural at 2100 Ross. 

Blue Norther, by Aaron Parazette, a Houston-based visual artist and professor at University of Houston, fills the San Jacinto lobby of 2100 Ross in downtown Dallas. 

"It refers to the weather phenomena when a cold front comes south and meets a warm front and creates a sort of pyrotechnic effect and causes thunderheads," Parazette said. "My thought was that I would be bringing something of that weather phenomena into the space and synthesizing it with geometric abstraction."

Parazette's work joins ten other pieces of art displayed throughout the common spaces of the building. The art was commissioned specifically for 2100 Ross by Cousins Properties, the Atlanta-based company that owns the building.

"2100 Ross begged for more personality," said Thad Ellis, senior vice president for Cousins Properties. "It was wide open what we could do there."

The building's proximity to the Dallas Arts District made commissioning original pieces of art a natural choice for the company, Ellis said. 

The collection at 2100 Ross was curated by Anne Tracht, president of ConsultArt. During the course of the building renovation, which began in 2013, Tracht, who is based in Atlanta, immersed herself in the Texas art scene. 

"Blue Norther" grows in the San Jacinto lobby of 2100 Ross. 

"Blue Norther" grows in the San Jacinto lobby of 2100 Ross. 

Contributed by Aaron Parazette

"I started to see a lot of geometry in Texas," she said.

The collection, so far, is 11 pieces created by six Texas artists. Parazette said all of the pieces in the collection carry a shared visual vocabulary of geometry and abstraction, but applied through different mediums from painting, to string-sculpture to wall installations. 

Parazette's mural is the most recent and one of the largest additions. He and his assistant Martin Ivy spent last week painting the mural, which is visible to passersby from Olive Street. 

Blue Norther, painted on a large wall reaching up two stories, is one of Parazette's largest works and a departure from his previous murals which were horizontally-oriented. 

"I was inspired by both the irregularity of the architecture of the space," he said. "With the bank of windows, viewers would be seeing actual weather and then this geometric distillation of a thunderhead rising up from the ground floor."

The majority of the piece is shades of blue representing the thunder clouds rolling across Texas. Then the entire piece is outlined in orange with additional orange lines separating the shades of blue. This technique of applying a warm color in a field of cool colors creates an almost neon effect, intensifying the warmer color, which Parazette said makes the piece "quite electric." 

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