McKenzie Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Paul Corio, opening on Friday, March 23, with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m., and running through Sunday, April 29, 2018. This will be the artist's second solo show with the gallery.
At first glance the work of Paul Corio appears focused on geometry and form, but the true subject is color. He employs a vocabulary of simple geometric shapes, squares and triangles, but it functions primarily as an organizing framework for the arrangement of color in his paintings. Corio’s color sequences are disciplined and ordered in terms of value, hue and saturation to explore aspects of movement, space, light and atmosphere.
Color choices are often system-driven: in the “hue-circle” paintings, for example, the rotation and positioning of light to dark value sequences are determined by the numbers of winning horses from a particular day at a New York racetrack. The chance-driven rotational sequences create visual disruptions to the geometric patterns and impart an optical shimmer to the overall composition. In other works, color choices are intuitive, generating rhythmic pulsations as colors advance and retreat in an almost musical manner. This is not surprising, as Corio is a jazz drummer and in an earlier life performed with a number of New York punk bands. In other paintings, there is an emphasis on trompe l’oeil spatial effects created in the movement of light to dark tonal values of a single color, or by ribbons of colors which project and recede in space, zipping back and forth across a white ground while progressing through their color values. Corio notes that, “systems are only interesting to me to the extent that they create a compelling image. If they don’t, I discard or amend them to that end.”
The titles of Corio’s paintings have no intrinsic relationship to the imagery but instead reflect his various interests outside of painting: horse racing, jazz, detective fiction, literature, film, 70s punk rock, and philosophy. Certain philosophies inform his approach to art making. He views the labor-intensiveness of his paintings as a rejection of ‘alienated labor’ as described by Marx and instead embraces Nietzsche’s formulation of the Dionysian: that life is an astonishing gift, full of wonder and art and music, an endless parade of experiences for all the senses and predilections. Corio notes that his true objective is for the work to be “an over-ripe Dionysian celebration of life, and I want my labor to smear my personality all over it.”
Born in Providence, Rhode Island and educated at RISD and Hunter College, Corio has lived in New York for thirty years, and has been exhibiting his work internationally for over a dozen years. Through May 13, 2018 he has work on view as part of the Visual Art Center of New Jersey’s “Stair-Gazing” series.
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 to 6 pm, Sundays, noon until 6 pm. The gallery will be closed Easter Sunday, April 1.