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Broward-Palm Beach New Times/May, 2006
Michael Mills
Arts & Entertainment
Best Visual Artist
Matthew Carone

Matt Carone has been a fixture on the South Florida art scene for so long that it's easy to take him for granted. The New Jersey native opened his famous, influential gallery on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale in 1959, and in the following decades, he built a roster that included such artists as Wolf Kahn, Leon Kroll, Wifredo Lam, and, of course, the great Chilean surrealist Roberto Matta. Meanwhile, Carone quietly continued his own work as a painter, urged on by Matta on his many visits to the area. And when the 41-year-old Hortt Memorial Competition was on the verge of going under a couple of years ago, Carone made his gallery available to the Broward Art Guild as one of the venues for the beleaguered exhibition. Last year, the artist sold his 10,000-square-foot space, which is now home to the Las Olas Art Center. But best of all, the 75-year-old Carone continues to paint, and if a recent one-man show at Lurie Fine Art Galleries in Boca Raton's Gallery Center is any indication, he's at the height of his creative powers.

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"Matthew Carone: Recent Paintings"
George S. Bolge
Executive Director
Boca Raton Museum of Art


The imaginary realm of Matthew Carone's painting is a place where traditional figures take on the manic presence of musicians, angels, and mythological heroes and beasts, while others give off the visionary auras of tribal shamans. Fielding a cast of characters from myth and reality, Carone takes on human frailty and beauty, topics many contemporary artists avoid.
Carone's work echoes with a wide range of modernist experiments. Not only is Carone identified with the pioneer generation of Abstract Expressionists, but also critics have seen affinities with Surrealism in his work, as well as developments parallel to those of the CoBrA group. Already enamored by the work of his brother, Nicholas Carone, he looked to such artists as Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning for inspiration. Matta, in particular, mentored his aspirations and gave him insight into how his work could develop.

Although Carone's canvases owe a debt to the history of Abstract Expressionism, it was not until his version of abstraction began to generate figures that the world of Carone's art became the challenging, trance-filled realm it is today. A long, intense struggle led him, at first, away from recognizable objects to spontaneous, non-figurative gesture, and then back again to the region inhabited by his flame-like personages. With this cast assembled, he offers a reflection on the world outside his art.

The innermost subject of Carone's art is the “human condition.” Yet, we cannot go directly to the heart of his painting. The physicality of the image stands in the way. So we have to talk about pigment on canvas.

We have to be formalists for a moment in order to get beyond formalism. All of the artist's characteristic strengths are here: color smoldering hot and transparently cool, rich textures, and an emotional tangle of line. His paintings have a restrained, though equally dynamic, balance of opposing forces: thinly painted areas versus thick impasto, hard edges versus irregular, broken contours, oppositions of intense hues, and all tendencies toward deep space constantly pulled back to the surface. The adjustments of opposites in the painting – closed form versus open line, clear definition versus ambiguity and, most significantly, chance versus deliberate manipulation – constitute the core of his art.

Carone is in charge of the image, yet he often takes the risk of letting it have its way with him. Such scenes reflect the courage of an artist so much at one with his art that he can laugh at the occasionally difficult moments in the relationship, those times when painting dictates to him, rather than the other way around. Confidence this solid unleashes extraordinary powers. Gusts of euphoria sweep through Carone's art, especially in the works of these last few years.

One senses in these works the strength a painter's gesture can have when he points without the least hesitation at the pleasures and terrors of an entire lifetime. Matthew Carone teaches us that, with courage, the pleasure wins out.


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Forward to exhibition Catalogue
Georgetown, Kentucky, September 15 – October 31, 2003
August L. Freundlich
Sackets Harbor, New York
July 2003

Renaissance: a reawakening? A period of time when the arts flourish, great art is produced, new insights develop. It happens in societies, it happens in individuals. Mathew Carone is in a second major career, a true renaissance artist. Today's painting reaffirms his inner talents as an artist, as a man reaching to the highest pinnacle, with fresh insights and great skill. He shows the viewer new visions.

As a youngster he quickly developed both notable musical and visual artistic quality. After marriage and children he became a school teacher. The salary was steady, furnishing a solid family footing, and allowing him the opportunity to continue both the violin and painting. Over the many decades of hands on involvement in the local cultural community, Mathew Carone became a major force in the artistic world of South Florida—a friend to artists and musicians of international distinction from all corners who subsequently came to live and work in Florida.

Although preferring to keep his paintings a source of private pleasure, over the years Matt has participated in many successful exhibitions, both in Florida and across the United States, and has been the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in the visual arts. His work has been enthusiastically received by many notable art critics and writers and he has been recognized by his peers as a notable force in the contemporary Florida art scene. Today, his work can be found in many prominent public and private collections.

I am privileged to have in my own small collection two Carone works. One is an early composition of strong color and sharp edges, the second a recent one with delicate shadings and fascinating linear structure. Both have had my admiration and the veneration of many others who have seen these images in my home.

This exhibition is further testimony to work that reflects the nature of a serious , knowledgeable artist who has mastered his craft. He has arrived at his renaissance, an acknowledgement of a mastery anew.



(Among his many professional awards and distinguished accomplishments in the visual arts, Mr. Freundlich is the Director Emeritus of the Lowe Art Museum at The University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Art at Syracuse University, New York. He currently serves as President of the Richard Florsheim Art Foundation.)

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"Letter written to Matthew from Federica Matta ---------------"

 

Matt raconte la transformation des etres par les gestes et les effets de la rencon soufflé de notre etre profound quand il se marie a la couleur.
C’est la peinture qui cherche qui danse qui sute a pieds joints sur les traces d Avec le microscope de ses traits, lignes, spheres Matt recree sous nos yeux ceti peinture que les peintures s’envoient les uns aux autres de Piero de la Francesco, Duchamp de son frère Nick a Hans Hoffman, de Matta a Matt Carone.
Cette boule-univers contient le dialogue des peintres en eux memes et les uns a C’est cette boule que nous attrapons au vol…
En la regardant nous entrons dans le monde jubilatoire de Matt ou lesperson rencontres nous eveillent a notre corps, a nos gestes et nous invitent a particip
Qund je regards un tableau de Matt je ressens de petits picotements dans tot mais surtout au bout de mes doigts.
C’est la reponse de mon etre profound a ce qu’il propose.
La peinture est le langage de l’ame, elle nous permet denous representer les espaces nouveaux de la conscience qui au fur et a mesure que notre cervea trouvent leurs representations par les mains peintures.
Matt nous met dans la main la boussole pour explorer ensemble ces territoires.
Matt nous entraine dans son immense métier de connaissance de la peinture et fait pas de la peinture mais laisse la peinture se faire…

 

(English Translation)

Matt recounts the transformation of beings by gestures and the effects of the encounter and of the breath of our deepest being when it is married to color.

It's the painting that searches, that dances, that jumps with its' feet together onto the traces of the invisible.  With the microscope of his strokes, lines and spheres, Matt recreates, in front of our eyes, this ball of painting which artists throw to each other, from Peiro de la Francesca to Marcel Duchamp, from his brother Nick to Hans Hoffman, from Matta to Matt Carone.
This ball/universe contains the painters dialogue within themselves and among themselves.
It's this ball we catch on the fly...
Looking at it we enter Matt's world of jubilation, where the "characters", by their encounter, awaken us to our bodies, our gestures and invite us to participate...

When I look one of Matt's paintings, I feel tingling in my whole body but mostly at the tips of my fingers.
It is my deepest being's response to what he proposes.
Painting is the language of the soul, it allows us to represent new areas of consiousnous which, as our mind is transformed, find their representation through the hands of painters (artists).

Matt puts the compass in our hand that will allow us to explore these new territories together.

Matt leads us into his enormous knowledge of painting and beings, he does not paint but allows painting to happen.....

 

 

 

"Matthew Carone, Recent Work"
April 17-June 16, 2002
Catalogue Introduction by George S. Bolge

"There is no such thing as Art; there are only artists."   E. H. Gombrich


We ask two things of an artist: that he invents a world of his own and that his world has some bearing on the one in which we live. The imaginary realm of Matthew Carone's painting is one of the most abundant riches in contemporary art. It is a place where some traditional figures take on the manic presence of musicians, angels, and mythogical heroes and beasts, while others give off the visionary auras of tribal shamans. In Carone's art, the male presence is, if anything, more vivid than the female. Each of his characters seems to be dedicated to one or another of his muses, who not only inspire his art, but also provide it with its grandest subject matter.
Fielding a cast of characters from myth and reality, Carone takes on human frailty and beauty, topics many contemporary artists avoid. At the same time, he shows another rare quality: a sense of humor. Thus, in a series of grand and witty gestures, he banishes ordinary beauty from his heroines. Yet, beauty persists in Carone's sensuous line and painterly textures. All the easily recognized sorts of nobility have fled his male archetypes, yet there is heroism to be found in the artist's largeness of vision and in the perseverance with which he has pursued it.

Carone's canvases owe a debt to the history of Abstract Expressionism, yet it was not until his version of abstraction began to generate figures that the world of his art became the challenging, trance-filled realm it is today. A long, intense struggle led him, at first away from recognizable objects to spontaneous, nonfigurative gesture, and then back again to the region inhabited by his flame-like personages. With this cast assembled, the artist found a way to fulfill that second demand we make of him. He offered a reflection on the world outside his art.

The question is what we make of that reflection. How, in other words, do we go about hearing what Carone has to say and seeing what he has to show us? The innermost subject of his art is the "human condition." Yet, we cannot go directly to the heart of his painting. The physicality of the image, its bodily presence, stands in the way. So we have to talk about pigment on canvas. We have to be formalists for a moment in order to get beyond formalism. All of the artist's characteristic strengths are here, color smoldering hot and transparently cool, rich textures, and an emotional tangle of line. And there is something more: a habit of style that reads first as a formal device and then, looking further, becomes powerfully expressive.

His play of hues keeps the eye in swift motion around the figure. Where his colors echo those of the background, the eye is drawn all the more strongly to the central vortex of the composition. Carone is forever reminding us of the similarity between aesthetic and sexual heat.

The artist handles formal considerations capably, yet the deep strength of his art does not lie here. Rather we only begin to understand him when we get a glimpse of the motives behind his color shifts. They activate the eye, but what does the painter mean by them? We can decipher the messages conveyed by line with relative ease. The figures in his compositions define themselves with a wiry suppleness of outline that is agitated and abashed all at once. Color resists language much more successfully, yet I think that one or two things about the background of his compositions can be put into words.

For one thing, the coloration of a figure's body, with all of its nuances of texture, finds an exact counterpart in the background hue. This makes it seem as though space is a function of the body that occupies it. The figure does not stand against a curtain of color so much as generate surrounding space from the vividness of its own presence. Figure and ground are separate in fact; in spirit, they are one.

Spontaneity is clearly visible in the uneven opacity of the paint that records the movement of the brush and in the occasional drips of paint. A tension is generated by the conflict between Carone's approach and traditional painting and drawing. Line, every now and again, models and defines edges and yet, in an ambiguous manner, loses touch with form. Color areas move back and forth so that spatial relationships are never clarified.

His paintings have a more restrained, though equally dynamic, balance of opposing forces: thinly painted areas versus thick impasto, hard edges versus irregular, broken contours, oppositions of intense hues and all tendencies toward deep space constantly pulled back to the surface. He sees the picture surface consciously as a responsive rather than an inert object, and painting itself as an affair of prodding and pushing, scoring and marking, rather than simply inscribing or covering.

Carone's paintings are occupied with breaking through the linear continuum by isolating forms of a shape that would repel each other, then relating them to a slightly felt scaffolding and an irrational meandering line. The adjustments of opposites in the painting, closed form versus open line, clear definition versus ambiguity, and most significantly, chance versus deliberate manipulation, constitute the core of his art.

It seems to me that all of Carone's paintings could be about experience. Each insists that meaning, no matter how all-inclusive, must come to us in a singular utterance. Consequently, none of the figures on view in this exhibition stands in a neutral space. Each comes alive in a place so peculiarly his or her own that even light and gravity read as signs of the figure's emotional state.

Carone's art is tempestuous. Sudden contrasts draw out attention to the prevailing weather, just as startling swoops into pictorial depths remind the eye that, after all, the action is on the surface. Figures are so vividly alive that they churn the surrounding atmosphere into glowing eddies. For all his complexity, Carone is direct, immediate, and this exhibition shows him getting more so by the year.

The artist's figures have so much energy that some of it is always available to convey the painter's own amazement at the willingness of formal qualities to turn into the flavors of emotion. Artists who encourage this transformation as adeptly as Carone usually end up labeled "Expressionists." This has certainly happened in his case. Not only is he identified with the pioneer generation of Abstract Expressionists, but critics also have seen affinities with Surrealism in his work, as well as developments parallel to those of the COBRA group. Yet it is not Expressionists alone who induce form to flair up into feeling. All artists do that, or make the attempt, and Carone's work echoes with a wide range of modernist experiment. Already enamored by the work of his brother, Nicholas Carone, he looked to such artists as Hans Hofman, Jackson Pollock, and William de Kooning for inspiration. Matta, in particular, mentored his aspirations and gave him insight into how his work could develop.

Matthew Carone takes full possession of such sources, as painters of his stature always do. His vision embeds each of his figures in a particular moment, a certain place. Time and space, body and gesture emerge from a dazzlingly specific play of color, texture, and line. The process is always a struggle, and the artist may never be able to subdue his painterly resources completely. Carone is in charge of the image, of course, yet he often takes the risk of letting it have its way with him. Such scenes reflect the courage of an artist so much at one with his art that he can laugh at the occasionally difficult moments in the relationship, those times when painting dictates to him, rather than the other way around. Confidence this solid unleashes extraordinary powers. Gusts of euphoria sweep through Carone's art, especially in the works of these last few years. One senses here the strength a painter's gesture can have when he points, without the least hesitation, at the pleasures and terrors of an entire lifetime. Matthew Carone teaches us that with courage, the pleasure wins out.


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Catalogue Introduction by George S. Bolge
Director, Boca Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida
"Matthew Carone"
May-June 1997
Galleria Cesarea, Genoa, Italy

Art is when one and one make three. Drawing is when the magic begins—and sometimes ends. With a single stroke, light is separated from dark, and space and scale are evoked from a void. In the beginning of all the arts lies this graphic act by pen, pencil, brush, or chisel with which, and from which, all else follows. As line bends to follow form, the re-creation of nature can give the artist a god-like role, as if re-experiencing Genesis. That sudden, miraculous moment when art becomes illusion is never more vividly experienced then in these new canvases by Matthew Carone showing at the Cesarea Gallery

Carone's drawings are the bone and muscle of his art, the often fascinating and themselves eloquent preparatory solutions that underlie his finished ideas. His line can be playful, willful, or almost uncontrolled, as well as rigidly within his command and direction. The subjective quality of Carone's recent paintings recalls Montaigne's speculation about whether he played with his cat, or she with him. These paintings' great strength lie in their inference of light through dark, as he illuminates from within and without, his achievement verging on the mystical.

Carone's line has many lives. Enclosing form by containment, it can assume the precise, fixed character of a die cameo. As it is worked into the shape of its model, his line becomes a pliable means, like wrought iron or twisted wire, conforming to its object. His lines may break and scatter like waves over a rock, to define form with extraordinary proficiency in shifting cascades. He transforms his imagery into shimmering, almost impressionist linear stream-of-consciousness. Hundreds of short lines, like tadpoles or the dots and dashes of Morse code, wriggle or tap out his myriad, interlocking images in fluid magnetic currents or vectors. In other instances, he chooses a freer line that seems to define itself as it goes along, adding a unique spontaneity to the creative process.

Carone's placement of the forms in his composition is a major yet elusive aspect of his drawings in the complex relationship between what you see and what you don't, a subtle way of defining and animating the work of art. His lines endow the blank areas with a complementary life, assisting and extending the creative expression. Matthew Carone is a striking master of this art of intervals. Acquaintance with Surrealism may have contribuited to his audacious exploitation of, or the absence of, suggestive blank space, as well as presence for achieving linear and emotional resonance. In his sensitive, superbly controlled paintings, a single line can capture a linear landscape or a puzzled facial expression, vibrating like a stringed instrument.

His paintings' innate powers of suggestion and inference, their intriguing anticipation of elaborate presentations to come, provide perhaps the ideal medium for this most gifted of artists. Carone brings both new objectivity and new subjectivity to his work, as he presents his astonishing dreams with the persuasiveness of a documentary. His line and light and shade seem to emanate from his figures in a sort of metaphysical photography, as if a function of their very metabolism. No other contemporary artist possesses such a reciprocity between drawing and writing; with him the visual and the verbal are interchangeable, both equally oriented toward lasting discovery through description, keen analysis through observation.

Matthew Carone, in "hand-making" his new mirrors of actuality, is reasserting the continuing dominance of the painter-draughtsman, with his unique powers of intellect and choice, in reclaiming some of that visual realm temporarily captured by photography. Ultimately, Carone's art is the "trip" affirming his right to assert himself through exercise of his imagination. Allegory and fantasy in his work expand both vehicle and license for the expression of his individual validity as a sentient being, creating another tiny stitch in that greatest of all myths: the sense of time.

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Letter written to Matthew Carone from Matta, after seeing his works at his studio in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, on January 11, 1997

"CAR-ONE"

I can't see how to write about drawings. A few lines about lines. Mainly, if the lines of the drawings are lines of forces. Now, how to see the real forces that are driving these lines. And again, how am I to know that the forces of the lines I shall write will mean what the lines of the drawings mean? Etc., etc., etc.—it is already a cast of lines. Next comes the play, and to see if it is a drama or a comedy, which the lines are playing for us. It is all there, in the artist's lines growing in search of us, and we shall give birth together, knowing that it is all about "US" vs. "IN" the artist!"

Matta
16th of March, 1997
Bahamas

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©2013, Matthew Carone. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce any images shown here must be obtained from the artist.