A courageous project – an exhibition conceived as a single work of art, with 9 rooms on the second floor of the Museo Correr housing some forty different pieces. Lawrence Carroll is an American artist of Australian origin who now works in Venice. This exhibition is not an attempt to provide a critical pigeonhole for his 25-year career; nor does it aim to present works in chronological order. Instead, the exhibition itself is a creative work, with the artist freely expressing himself in various site-specific installations that are adapted to the size of each individual room. Various strands link neighbouring rooms; overall, there is a continuing shift in visual and spatial perception, with an exploration of different materials and themes. Placed against the walls, in the corners or on the floor, these works of varying size comprise both identifiable objects and more abstract content. The overall effect is one of great poetic impact. Curator: Laura Mattioli Rossi. The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venice.
Catalogue published by Charta, with essays by Laura Mattioli Rossi, Giandomenico Romanelli and Angela Vettese.
In an age dominated by technology, Lawrence Carroll’s art is the direct product of an individual sensibility, of the artists own hands and vision. It is the fruit of the perceived necessity for the objects of visual communication to be imbued with humanity. Carroll’s avowed influences are: Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg, for their use of colour and exploration of memory; the Minimalists, for their simplicity of form and exploitation of the relation between object and space; and, most importantly of all, Giorgio Morandi. In his own work, Carroll continues the Italian artist’s ever deeper exploration of the complexity within apparently simple and humble objects of daily life. Like Morandi, Carroll even makes the stretchers for his canvasses. He experiments with the different ways in which the painted work can occupy space. The juxtaposed components are often of very different sizes; and the way in which they project from the wall is accentuated in subtle modulations of the relation between object and empty space, light and dark, opacity and transparency. The wooden frames can become concave or convex volumes that interact with their setting. And the objects they contain – flowers, lamps, shoes or painted and folded canvasses – become fragments of a poetic vision. The materials never strive for illusion; they stand as themselves, eschewing any possible dichotomy between reality and representation, between the abstract and the figurative. Wood is wood; oil paint is oil paint; canvas is a rough surface material held in place with metal staples; silk flowers have been dipped in a pot of white paint; shoes are everyday footwear.
Carroll’s work is neither assemblage nor installation as they are usually understood by contemporary artists. Just as in past centuries, wood, canvas, oil painting and wax are used to convey a deeply-physical sense of humanity. However, the expression of the complexity of form and colour is never simply aggressive. The colour tones of the painting appear almost uniform, as if they were a monotone reflection of days that follow on from each other without change. The colour is deliberately a sort of non-colour, obtained by the application of layers of paint that leave exposed part of the underlay of ribbed or lined fabric.