CARL SCORZA

(American, born 1948)

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 I have painted most of my life and have never tired of pursuing the truth of the visual experience. In 1997, working with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, I proposed and helped develop a program that provided artists with studio space in the World Trade Center. I worked for the next year on the 91st floor of the North Tower, which I shared with 18 other perceptual painters.

 

After that residency, I received a scholarship to the New York Studio School, which emphasizes formal considerations and the human form.

 

In 2005 I proposed another residency program, similar to the one in the WTC, and became artist in residence on Governors Island in New York Harbor off the tip of Lower Manhattan. That program, hosted initially by the National Parks Service,  brought dozens of resident artists and art classes to paint plein air from the island with its historic structures and breathtaking views.

 

In addition to my four years at the New York Studio School, I studied at the National Academy and took various classes at the Art Students League, New School for Social Research, and the New York Academy.

 

Over the years my process has evolved. I now allow inspiration from whatever form it’s found. Working from clippings, candid photographs, and models, I compose paintings through a process of rearranging the elements. I draw, paint, cut and paste them, then photograph the outcome and manipulate them on the computer screen. The computer collage becomes a kind of cartoon for the painting. This process is continued on the canvas by mark-making and development of the surface. This process and the relationship to the experience is the source of the poetry

 

The accompanying images are from my most recent series of paintings. Inspired by restaurants and bars, each is based on a favorite place or an iconic or popular drink. The beauty is in the arrangement and painterly display of bottles, their labels, the light on the glass, and its translucent nature.

 

Bars and restaurants are meeting places where people come together to relax but also to be on display themselves. Each bar reflects the tastes and identities of its patrons, especially the selection of types and brands of liquor. The placement of liquors, wines, and beers is often hierarchal and contextual. A restaurant at a marina in Montauk will display more beer and rum than a bar on Wall Street. I have come to pay close attention to such subtleties.

 

The artwork speaks for the experience. The experience of the translucent glass and colored liquid is primarily visual. Seeing something through something else, such as one bottle behind another, has a poetry all its own. The presence of artificial and natural light reflected and direct light speaks to our varied experience. Labels play the role of affirming the individual within a group and asserting a singular identity. The label not only identifies the bottle's contents but also brand identity and even projects a subliminal emotional appeal. It may be a reminder of past experience, for better or for worse, or a promise of future pleasure. One of my favorites is Goslings Black Seal Rum. The label shows a trained seal balancing a barrel on its nose. I find it an appropriate metaphor for the liquor and the creative process.

 

These paintings invite the viewer to delight in the almost musical nature of the language of painting: the expressive play of the demonstrative mark, spacing that creates a sense of animation, and complementary colors that counterpoint and accentuate each other. The hidden geometry of the painting like gravity holds everything in place. Deep shadows and bright highlights set the stage for the drama of saturated color.

 

Juggling these elements sustains my interest in the life I lead as an artist. The most remarkable thing is how it informs everything else I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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