Monday, May 25, 2009

Abstraction/Figuration: Nicolas Carone’s Fait Accompli

[“Untitled” (2009), mixed media on paper. “Untitled” (2000-05), gouache and pencil on paper.]

Lohin Geduld Gallery is presenting its third solo exhibition by eminent artist Nicolas Carone, who was a central figure during the heady days of abstract expressionism. Carone was a central figure in developing a visual language combining abstraction and figuration. Derived from cubism and surrealism, Carone’s images, along with those of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and seminal Chilean painter Matta (1911-2002), created a vocabulary of forms springing from automatism and the unconscious. In Carone’s case such automatic drawing was influenced by his competence with the human form, gained through experience in classical study. In a weltanschauung, where observation, memory, sensation, and desire combine to form a truer reality, Carone allows his unedited thoughts and fantasies to flow through the lines and shapes of dynamism and beauty. He continues to mine this fertile ground, in which drawing is the most direct mode of visual expression. This exhibition finds Carone at the height of his powers—expanding the figurative tradition with the conviction that such probing of the unconscious can lead to new perceptions and insight.

Closely associated with the development of modernism, Carone was part of the early generation of New York School abstract expressionist artists with such others as Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and others, whose artistic contribution had come to the fore by the 1950s. Importantly, Carone studied with Hans Hofman (1880-1966), a synthesist who brought together traditional methods and avant-garde concepts and is an extraordinary figure in postwar American art—and who conveyed structure, relationships, and tensions related to perspective, space, and color to an illustrious group of students including Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Nevelson, Frank Stella, Lee Krasner, Larry Rivers, and Red Grooms. Yet, Carone also studied with Leon Kroll (1884-1975), who bucked many of the swirling art-world trends—and continued in a realistic vein with his landscapes while most others dove into abstraction and other modernist manifestations.

Like the late works of Picasso, Carone’s drawings present a dichotomy of Modernism and Classicism, intimacy and archetype. All forms are potentially expressive, and in Carone’s prodigious output over the past few years we find an artist breaking through to a plane of boundless possibility. His charcoal marks contain gestures of substance and meaning, forming compositions suggesting a continuum of experience without hierarchy. Taking in Carone’s works at Lohin Geduld, one is awed at seeing the work of someone who worked in the same milieu as Pollock, and who was associated with the likes of those ranging from Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and surrealist/neo-romantic landscape painter Eugene Berman (1899-1972) to salonnier extraordinaire Alexander Iolas (1907-1987) and surrealist painter Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957).

Carone’s work is represented in many collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum. He was awarded both the Prix de Rome and a Fulbright Fellowship.

Nicolas Carone: Abstraction/Figuration

Works on Paper

@ Lohin Geduld Gallery

Through June 6, 2009

531 West 25th Street, NYC 10001

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