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55 Orchard Street, New York, New York 10002 212 989 5467

Paul Corio
These Foolish Things

September 9 - October 23, 2022

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Paul Corio’s abstract paintings have long used highly disciplined sequences of carefully mixed colors within a varied framework of geometric motifs and patterns. In Corio’s work, color is paramount, whether ordered systematically in terms of value, hue, and saturation, or applied randomly and intuitively. As he notes, “I freely mix these two approaches – systems are only interesting to me to the extent that they create a compelling image. If they don’t I discard or amend them to that end.”
 
Triangular, square, and diamond shapes are the vehicles for Corio’s chromatic explorations and compositional motifs. In several works in the exhibition, transitioning bands of color travel up and down the painting, moving from darker to lighter zones before seemingly scattering apart into sparkling fields. In places, the discrete bands coalesce into larger, obliquely set geometries, creating an illusion of spatial depth before flattening against the picture plane. In other works, color bands zigzag into and out of the pictorial space, projecting forward or receding behind contrasting fields. Here and there, discrete, unexpected dimensional cubes emerge, floating still amidst the more active ribbons of color.
 
Another compositional motif is the artist’s use of small-scale obliquely set squares arranged into layered, larger triangular shapes. The color transitions of light to dark or its opposite, from tip to broader base, create dense, pulsating, mountainous arrangements that occupy an expansive space. Other works have a structure inspired by a classical pattern of a repeating diamond shape surrounded by obliquely set squares. The squares are subdivided into wedges or checkerboards of color that systematically transition from dark to light in ordered hues. The diamonds are filled with contrasting color that transitions as well, moving from warm to cool tones as the eye travels vertically.
 
Also included are three small-scale paintings which use typography as the vehicle for color exploration. Corio realized that lettering can be an alternative to purely geometric shapes because of its quality of indeterminate scale. Words were chosen for their formal qualities: their brevity allows for a symmetrical composition and the letters can be rendered in block form. The liveliness of the word arrangements is also found in the titles of the artist’s paintings. Corio is a musician who started out in 70s punk bands and now plays with a jazz combo. His titles reference songs from both musical genres, as well as other autobiographical interests: horse racing, fiction, philosophy, and film. They reinforce the idea that his paintings are playful, and as he notes, “…as disciplined as my work and work habits are, I’d like the paintings to communicate a love of life.”
 
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, educated at RISD and Hunter College, Corio has lived in New York for over thirty years, and has been exhibiting his work in gallery and museum shows across the United States for nearly twenty years.
 
 
 
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