PaperCity Magazine

April 2015 - Houston

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APRIL | PAGE 52 | 2015 A STUDIO CONFIDENTIAL WITH CARL PALAZZOLO On the eve of his second solo at Texas Gallery (April 2 – May 2), Whitney Biennial-exhibited painter Carl Palazzolo weighs in on the best advice Clement Greenberg ever gave, why going for gravitas is the ultimate end game, a very grand dinner party with Joan Mitchell, and the night he met partner Vance Muse. Catherine D. Anspon reports. A rare Deco-era building at Midtown — a 3,000- square-foot former dance hall — is home to artist Carl Palazzolo. Flooded with sunlight, imbued with the perfume of the past, the limpid, luxurious interior is filled with well-thumbed books, DVDs of Italian cinematic classics, a collection of works by notable friends and Arts and Crafts pottery. But mostly, this retreat (hidden in plain sight above an architectural practice tucked into a Spanish Revival-style structure) serves as a salon to gather and above all, a place to contemplate and create art. Memory, suspended time, a sense of other lives and travels to distant lands and faraway places all hover in the air, hanging by hidden threads, much like the canvases and watercolors that Palazzolo paints, where objects float and the temporal and concepts of space dissolve and reconfigure. Traverse the flight of well-honed stairs to the second floor, where a simple "CP" marks the opaque glass door. The curious visitor crosses a portal as mysterious as the door to Bogart's detective office in The Maltese Falcon, a vortex where Dusty Springfield croons on the soundtrack and The Leopard screens into eternity. In an exclusive chat with the internationally exhibited, famously private painter, whose career spans an undiminished 45 years and counting, Palazzolo discusses inconsistency, loss, and finding beauty. CINEMATIC OBSESSION. Always a huge fan of the great Italian films of the 1960s, I wanted to spend time with the idea of using film and film actors as subjects for painting and drawings. I have a large collection of black-and-white photographs of directors, actors, cinematographers and writers who worked in Italy during that period. The problem was how to give them a unique life on canvas so that it wasn't just an illustration of a person or idea … They were a joy to paint (also not something I always say), and I continue to live with one. So, as you can see, Sargent to Fellini, I'm obviously not concerned about consistency. In fact, I avoid it. YOUR QUEST FOR THE SUBLIME. The apprehension of beauty is what I'm ultimately after. The unearthing of the sublime in likely as well as unlikely places. Whether ruminating on the late afternoon light in Monet's haystacks, deconstructing the enigmatic daughters in Sargent's painting or paying homage to the influence the legendary Italian films of the '60s had on my life as a young artist, the memory of what has passed is ever present in my work. Not as nostalgia but in awe, with profound gratitude. BECOMING A HOUSTONIAN. Each winter, I would come down for a little more time until … I think it was, my fourth winter. The city had worked its mojo on me. I found everything so easy and welcoming — the people, the weather, the availability of space. Sort of like the polar opposite of New York City at the time. I'd lived there since 1975, and I was ready for a new chapter in my life. BEING BICOASTAL. I'm usually in Maine from June until the end of October. September and October being my favorite time to be A PHOTOGRAPHIC PRODUCED BY MICHELLE AVIÑA . PHOTOGRAPHY CASEY DUNN. A SUBLIME Carl Palazzolo's Untitled (Charleston), 2013, at Texas Gallery AFTERNOON The painter contemplates two works destined for his show opening this month as Texas Gallery, "Carl Palazzolo: Recent and Remembered Work." From left: Orfeo, 2014, and Solange (detail of five panels), 2015. Vintage mid- century chair in foreground.

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