PaperCity Magazine

April 2015 - Houston

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there. I try to spend a few weeks in New York on my way to Maine and back to Houston. And I'm in New York for much of December. ON LANDING THE DREAM STUDIO. My Houston studio brings me such joy, I really hate to leave. I searched for nearly a year and a half before I found it. [Partner Vance Muse and I] live in the Museum District, and I wanted to walk or ride my bike to my studio. I remember being shown a space in one of those industrial parks where you could land a small aircraft. I thought, 'I know sculptors in NYC who would kill for this space.' But all I needed was a well- lighted large room. Preferably with a bar nearby. I came upon a listing for my studio on Craigslist. A two-story white Deco building from the '20s. It was bigger than I needed — actually, rather grand. It had been a yoga studio with the largest wall covered in mirrors. So I dismissed it. A few days later, my now landlord phoned and asked if I was going to take it. When I expressed misgivings, he offered to remove the mirrors, fix the wall and install track lighting! After dealing with New York landlords, I was sort of stunned. I wondered if it had been a crime scene. But, of course, it was another example of what I love about Houston. People want to make things happen. They want to make the deal, meet new people and generally say "yes" rather than "no." So, after thinking about it (for about four seconds), I decided that instead of keeping all of my New York studio in storage, I could move everything into this space as if I were living there. My books, my music, art by friends. And every day I turn the key to that door, I feel massively lucky. LINING UP THE CRAYONS. I've made every attempt to make the space feel like a refuge. In all my studios, from Boston to New York to Maine, it's important to me to be able to spend time in the space, even if I'm not actually painting. If I want to read or listen to music or visit with friends, I need the space to be calm and comforting. I also have something of the neat freak about me. I know a lot of painters who thrive on chaos, but I am emphatically not one of them. A writer friend in New York used to call me frequently and say things like, "Well, okay, the pencils are all sharpened, and I've changed the blotter, but I think the desk could use a little polish" before he could even think about actually writing. I think all artists do that to some extent, but I try to curb my more OCD tendencies, like making sure all the crayons are facing the same direction. You will notice that for the PaperCity shoot, I couldn't resist. Embarrassing, really. ON YOUR EASEL. This group of paintings will be shown at Texas Gallery in an exhibition entitled "Carl Palazzolo: Recent and Remembered Work." The title works on a number of levels, given that my work deals with memory, loss and a rumination on finding beauty in the temporal and fleeting. The exhibition will also include a drawing done in 1967 while I was still a painting student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I came upon it while looking through some old files, and it so related to a series which I was working on at the time that I felt it needed to be included. There's a strong current of recurring vocabulary in my work. That fact sort of crept up on me. I've sometimes felt like a retrospective of mine would look like a group show. Not that I don't like that idea. ON A HALF-CENTURY OF PAINTING. My imagery over the course of 45 years has morphed and shifted. Yet the creation of a visual language, which reflects the passage of time and the aftereffects of loss, has always been the common denominator. STALKING SARGENT. Although I have rarely made a signature painting, I spent nearly 10 years working on deconstructions (and sometimes reproduction) of John Singer Sargent's masterpiece The Daughters of Edward D. Boit. While a student [at the Boston Museum School], I would spend hours lost in the dark mystery of that painting. It wasn't until 1990 that I gave myself permission to actually start riffing on the images. By that time, I had already been exhibiting in New York and was identified as an abstract painter. A number of people, artists among them, warned me about using imagery in my work. I remember hearing the term "career suicide" for the first time. But I really was aching to spend time with this painting, so I just pushed on. My dealers in New York City, Bernard Lennon and Jill Weinberg of Lennon, Weinberg were enormously supportive and did a very elegant catalogue for the show … Sales, great reviews and a reproduction in The New Yorker were welcome justification for this leap. WHAT CLEMENT GREENBERG TOLD YOU. The great critic Clement Greenberg said at a lecture or critique that none of us in that group would make a truly deep and true painting until we Clockwise, from second row left: A cinematic obsession led to works such as A Personal History of Italian Film #5, 1997. Vintage conference table by Florence Knoll, rimmed by Jens Risom chairs. A canvas looms from Palazzolo's series devoted to Italian '60s film classics. Above, '60s party decor. The artist's work table. Above, an always morphing wall of prized mementos and exhibition announcements, including photos of Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell, the latter a friend whose work Palazzolo particularly admires. Paintbrushes await. Vintage George Nelson desk in office, once the coat-check room for this former Deco-era dance studio. Above, source material: a collection of '60s Italian film photographs. Yousuf Karsh's photo of a young Jean Cocteau, poet, artist and filmmaker — and influencer of Palazzolo. Palazzolo's The Hours, 2014, holds court on an expanse of studio wall. Against the post, one panel of a diptych, Counting Absence #6 (for W.W.), 2004.

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