NICOLAS CARONE at WASHBURN GALLERY
Off The Chart, 2009, acrylic on tarpaulin, 42"x33"
by Robert Sievert
When I asked the man behind the desk at the
Washburn Gallery "Just how old is Nick?" he
hesitated and then said, "92?" It was almost an
The paintings on view in the other room were all
done in the past year. An amazing feat for an
artist who is challenged by vision problems and
what ever else comes along with being 92. No
apology needed. Done in black and white, there is a
visual excitement and sense of intensity in this
work. Probably the finest work Carone has done
This work follows a similar series shown last year
at the Washburn gallery. Those were not new
paintings but had been in his studio for quite
awhile. I had seen them at least five years ago.
They also were black and white. But it is in this
new series currently on view that Carone has made
his most definitive expression of his artistic
vision yet. It is as if the attention of his last
show has catapulted him into renewed energy and
Sacred Phobia, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 94"x75"
One who is familiar with his earlier work might
miss the deep tonal reds and cadmium purples
contrasted by a blaze by fiery oranges and
yellows, as seen in his paintings done in the
60's. There is a small amount of color besides
the black and white in this series; donnish browns
and faded tans play brief roles in the drama.
Carone is a poet of light. His work is not about
description but about the energy existing in light
against dark, a search for a metaphor of the
interplay of the universal forces. Here they are a
white curtain of forms overlaid with quick
masterly lines and washes. His expressive line
references human form against a blackness, which
is deep and endless.
Has it taken Carone a lifetime to find this
expression of a vision he has long kindled? How
refreshing to find an artist who has not made an
early body of work and faded from glory unable to
repeat the feats of existing work. Carone has come
forth with an expanded sense of renewal and
visionary accomplishment in his maturity.
What Matters, 2008, acrylic on tarpaulin, 72"x54"
copyright © Robert Sievert 2009