Carson C::
profound and lucid calm

Ocean Series by Carson CI've been working on The Ocean Series for more than a quarter of a century. I guess you could say that this conflation of a traditional marine sunset with a color-field painting, something that originally crossed my mind sometime back in 1978, turned out to be a fairly fertile idea for me. Call it a post-modern approach to the color-field tradition if you like, but I'm not trying to deconstruct anything, fit into any category, or prove any theories. The ocean, with its infinite variety and constant flux, is a motif that never ceases to fascinate me; and to say that this image of the far horizon and the dying sunlight has broad metaphoric powers would be to belabor the obvious. My two greatest influences as a painter have been Mark Rothko and Claude Monet; in a way, my paintings are only a kind of simple-minded formal synthesis of the two. At least, I hope they're that good.

Once in a while a commercial gallery will invite me to do an exhibition. My first solo was at Sarah Rentschler Gallery, NYC, in 1980. The most recent one (as of this writing) was January 2003 at Sekanina Contemporary Art Gallery in Ferrara, Italy. I had a good show at Norro Gruppen Konstgallerie, Stockholm, Sweden, in 1991. In between there were about a dozen others, spread out over the past 20 years; but never in the same place twice. I haven't exactly been what you could call successful. My work actually sold a lot better back in the '80s than it does now. I guess the days when a guy would swagger into an art gallery, snort up a big snoot full of coke, and slap down $5,000 for a painting just to prove that he had the right stuff are definitely over. I miss those days. I never have any fucking money...

Art by Carson CIts been a lonely path. I'm nomadic, never stay in one place for more than a year or two; don't have any possessions except for what I can carry on the iron birds. So far I've lived in 7 of the USA States and 6 other countries. I prefer warm places, but anywhere with a left coast will do - for a while. Of course I always have to be near the motif. Yet I don't like painting outdoors. Being, normally, poor as a church rat, I often work in buildings that have been, for one reason or another, abandoned. I can't seem to paint effectively for more than about 4 hours a day. The rest of the time I mostly spend walking or sitting on the beach, staring at the ocean. I meditate. I surf when I can. I take part-time work when its available; have had quite a variety of dead-end, no-brainer jobs, some of which I liked. I've got an MD degree from the University of Texas that I've chosen to ignore. You might also say that I have the equivalent of a PhD in "coping".

Looking at a work of art affects us in a positive, a negative, or (rarely) a neutral way. This is obvious: Look at the image, not just a glance, spend some time at it. Notice how you feel. My intention in making them was to create a meditative ambience: a profound and lucid calm. Enter the illusion. You are the figure that inhabits this eternal place. Notice how you feel. Some viewers have found them evocative. If any of this interests you, please let me know; I'd like to hear about it:

Carson C

Carson C
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