Carl Chiarenza

Posted In: Exhibitions on 5/25/2016

Carl Chiarenza | Selected Works

May 25 - July 2, 2016



Carl Chiarenza is a photographic renaissance man. He is first and foremost a

terrifically inventive, and endlessly curious maker of photographic images. Garry

Winogrand was fond of saying, when asked why he shot a particular scene, that "I

wanted to see what that looked like photographed". There's a lot packed into that

little zinger, about photography, representation, transformation, and the object that is

the resulting photograph. Although it isn't always obvious, Carl is really a concrete

kind of guy. He makes, and works from collages that he constructs from this and that,

sometimes literally from garbage, and torn scraps. The act of photographing these

collages, stimulates the artist's mind, first, while constructing them, then, while

transforming them into a new object, the photograph, which refers grudgingly back to

the objects of which they are reflections, (Chiarenza says he does not keep the

collages. He throws them away...ashes to ashes, as it were), but now they are

something else, something "other". They have become vessels containing wonder, and

mystery. Einstein said, "One of the most beautiful things we can experience is the

mysterious,.... It is the source of all true science and art. He who can no longer pause

to wonder is as good as dead." Chiarenza doesn't just pause there...he lives there!


He has been a teacher of others, too, who are interested in exploring the same, or

rather adjacent territory. They are taking temporary advantage of Carl as their guide.

Teaching is a wonderful arena, full of richness and opportunity. One in which the

teacher gets as much as he gives...usually more. It forces the instructor to organize

and give shape to all the disparate, yet connected, shards of thought and factoids of

experience, previously floating around in his mind. These components, used to drifting

in vague association with each other, rather like a constellation, an outline rather than

a description, now, suddenly, become a map...something one can follow. And at the

same time it gives the teacher the satisfaction of bringing others along with

him...nurturing that next generation of seekers. So too, the dialogue, between work

and self, is now expanded, as well as extended. Don't people who do this go straight

to heaven?


If all this were not enough, he is also is a prolific author, not just of compendiums of

his own work, yet there are many, but also as the critically acclaimed biographer of

the work of his friend and mentor, Aaron Siskind. It's hard to imagine what more you

could want to know about this great Abstract Expressionist than what Chiarenza has

put between the covers of, Aaron Siskind, Pleasures and Terrors. It is both rigorous and



Chiarenza's photographs depart from the facts contained therein. The facts form an

architecture, which provides structure, without needing to over-explain itself. We are

looking at landscapes that never were, and objects of questionable utility. Exploring

these images is like studying the disparity between what we know, or what we think

we know, and what we feel...a different order of cognition entirely. It is a world of

imagination elegantly described, without sacrificing its mystery. The images point

outward from themselves, to other visual sensations, and worldly references: eg.

music, poetry, love.



To view more of Carl's work please take a look at our virtual gallery. We warmly

invite you to come and see this extraordinary work in person as the jpegs do not do

them justice! Please contact the gallery to make an appointment. (Contact info