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Current Work Statement

PAINTING, WHILE DRIVING

The kind of Authenticity I look for in painting is experienced by anyone who drives a car. I can't believe the variety of people I trust my life to on the road everyday. In the face of life and death decisions, they all seem to drive with complete authenticity. They take the right action at the right time in the right way, without reflection, and with complete transparency. Rules of the road are second nature. Forget waiting at a stop light in the middle of the night. If it's safe to go, you go. That's the way I like to paint.

My work derives from American painting that was at a crucial nexus 60 years ago. It was a rare time when Form and Content were considered to be the same thing. Painting was to be "entirely optical" one guy said. And another said, "What you see is what you see". I don't think they believed this then anymore than we do now. The idea that the subject and meaning and impact of a painting can matter only inside of a work is nonsense. We need the world, and especially the people in it, to make a painting connect.

Painting, like driving, is an interdependent act. We depend on each other, and a good deal of luck, if we are ever to get where we are going. From its conception, to process, to its ultimate viewing, an artwork is a multilevel engagement filtered through the world of changing speeds and moods and assessments of what is happing in front of us right now. Movement on the canvas is like stop-and-go traffic. Stopped, for a moment we have arrived at our shared destination. We see the vulnerability of others as they see ours. We are open to trusting and caring and observing each other as we are on the trail of life. Then we are off again.

— Jerry Carniglia

 

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