PAWL CARBONARO

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About the Art

Pawl Carbonaro belongs to that post-war generation of artists who started their activities in the sixties. As a result, he has, to date, more than forty years of productions behind him.
During that time, he has subscribed to an evolution of his idiom that should come out quite clearly in any retrospective collection of his work. Essentially, his repertoire consists of landscapes and abstracts. Generally speaking, Carbonaro first immersed himself mostly in landscape painting. Then from the early eighties, he veered definitely into pure abstraction. It was only in recent years that he has made a return – “il mio ritorno” – as he likes to call it, to painting landscapes in a manner that borrows heavily from the abstracted idiom that had preceded this latest phase.

Pawl Carbonaro’s art embraces intense yet considered emotion framed within a resolute exploration of the spatial, the chromatic and the organic. His work constantly references the same medium that breathes it’s life, playfully wigwagging between gritty crests of variegated hessian, gestural brushstroke and flattened suspended space. Like the dark creative force of the Andalucian duende, Carbonaro’s gesture signals an innate energetic instinct, a surge of power in search of an unwavering impression; one that may equal vent in exuberant crescendo or brooding tranquility depending upon the sway of the artist’s cathartic mechanism of self re-invention. Carbonaro’s works are beaconed by an earth-force, by the artist’s insatiable commitment to travel and to the exploration of his much beloved expanses of untainted land, sea and sky. It is of small wonder therefore that the land or the seascape is a recurrent theme that has been explored by the artist since early artschool days, a concern that has also been honed through living amidst an island reality where virgin terrain is seriously challenged through substantial building development. In this respect, the title of the work “Silver Lining” seems to emit a cry of distress rather than embody the famed ray of hope as the shimmering white rim light normally associated with backlit ominous cloads, or indeed the locally well known glisten of the last rays of sunlight on Mediterranean shores is here replaces by a pearly white stripe that sits uncomfortably sandwiched between two horizontal masses which in tur float in black vertical limbo. One wonders if this is the artist’s way of sounding the alarm bells to the ravage of his beloved countryside.

The chosen paintings in the small selection also testify to an expressive maturity which although embracing the artist’s perennial abstract concerns, bears an almost violent rawness and leaves no space for earlier chromatically lush and romantic expressions to surface. The uninhibited and agitated brushstroke present in Pawl’s abstract paintings since the mid 1980s has now taken on an almost literal references to the material makeup of it’s tool. The brushstrokes impart an impression of this earth-force as it flows through the conduit of the artist’s body, hand and brush as if to reassure us that each decision action is the finite result of the unexplained mysterious power that is in Carbonaro’s denude.

At such a distinguished age of creativity maturity, Carbonaro’s work continues to become more physical, his actions more hefty, even brutal at times. The once lyrical intimation of constructed space is replaced by one that cut’s across expanses with immediate and menacing speed and force as if, like the last remaining gasps of air wrenched out of a deep sea diver’s lungs before resurfacing, the time window allocated for the creative energy that spawn each delivery in menacingly becoming shorter and shorter. The artist’s palette has also fallen victim to a similar fate and echoes a nostalgia of one that was more multifarious in early years. Even tough works like “Astratto Lilla” and “Allegro ma non troppo” still bear traces of a lighter colour variety, the artist restrains it’s full exposure in order to retain complete uplift, referencing back to the artist’s current daily work itself, an unceasing undercurrent that strives to capture as rapidly and forcefully as possible each varying light of every new day.