Opening reception Thursday, May 2, 6—8 pm
Lennon, Weinberg is pleased to present its sixth solo exhibition of Carl Palazzolo’s work. Aesop is the earliest of the paintings in this
exhibition, and is the most closely related to the prior cycle of work
titled Traces of Absence that was presented in his exhibition at Texas
Gallery in Houston several years ago. Each painting in that series
featured an object that served to anchor a layered composition of subtly
modulated colored fields, freehand brushstrokes and a scatter of rose
petals and numbers across the surface.
The petals in Aesop are paired with numbers that, like the yardstick,
advance from one to thirty-six, and are a readily legible metaphor for
the passage of our fleeting measure of time. Palazzolo’s paintings
develop slowly as he builds and refines the layers, and this painting was
still on the easel in the spring of 2011 when he learned that his close
friend of forty years, painter Stephen Mueller, had been diagnosed with
Palazzolo has described the central themes of his work as memory and
loss, impermanence and an undercurrent of longing and desire; the
progression of Mueller’s illness made his sense of these feelings all the
more immediate. Stephen Mueller died in September 2011, and the rest
of the paintings in this exhibition are a particularly specific and
personal expression of homage, appreciation and love from one friend,
and painter, towards another.
The paintings in the series Tears of Things are painted on the canvas
drop cloths from Mueller’s studio that bear the traces of his materials
and process. In these paintings, Palazzolo exchanged the symbolic
objects of the prior work for elements that quote from Mueller’s own
paintings. He stretched sections of the drop cloths, added layers of
color, tinted rose petals and numbers, and introduced hard-edged
shapes in graduated colors that echo Mueller’s vocabulary of rounded
forms. The Tears of Things series is as eloquent a statement of the
underlying themes in Palazzolo’s work as he has ever produced.
The nine small paintings that comprise A Suite of Fragrances for
Stephen were painted concurrently with the Tears of Things. Each
depicts the bottle of a particular brand of fragrance, each representing a
memory of where it was purchased and why it was chosen, when it was
worn and with whom it was shared.
In earlier cycles of work, Palazzolo had deconstructed a particular
painting by John Singer Sargent, The Daughters of Edward Boit, and
subsequently explored imagery from classic Italian films of the 1960s.
His last show here in 2006 introduced some of the elements present in
the current work. All of these paintings are personal in one way or
another, but are rife with references that go beyond that aspect and
demonstrate his intelligence and wit as well as a stance that values
sincerity over irony.
Carl Palazzolo studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts,
Boston, and Tufts University. His work was included in the 1975
Whitney Biennial. Lennon, Weinberg represents Carl Palazzolo in New
York and has presented six solo exhibitions of his paintings and
watercolors since 1988. He has also had solo shows at Texas Gallery in
Houston; Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Columbus, Ohio; Robert Bowman
Ltd in London; Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco; Marguerite
Oestreicher Fine Arts in New Orleans and Thomas Babeor in La Jolla,
California. In her role as curator, Joan Sonnabend of Obelisk Gallery in
Boston, an early and long time supporter of Palazzolo’s work, acquired
many works for the collections of the international Sonesta Hotels. His
work is represented in numerous public and private collections.
Palazzolo has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,
the University of New Orleans, Massachusetts College of Art, the
School of Visual Arts and Syracuse University. He has received grants
and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts
Council on the Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Peter
In conjunction with the 2013 Spoleto Festival USA, the Gibbes
Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, will present The Spoleto
Watercolors of Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo from the collection
of David and Carol Rawle. The exhibition will be on view from May
24 to September 15, 2013.
Palazzolo lives and works in Houston, Texas and Robinhood, Maine.