Jerry Carniglia (1946-2015)

My project is to vivify the unseen, and for me paint is the medium particularly well suited to making abstract phenomena visible and revealing unexpected meaning.

My current series of paintings work from new sources of figuration revealed by recent advances in mechanical methods of observation. Some of my image sources are from the Hubble Telescope, robotic submersibles, and cellular electron micrographs. One particular element that fascinates me is the "arms" common in my three sources but invisible to the natural eye: nebulous fingers, articulated flagella, and cytoplasmic processes that seem to wiggle and wave and convey a sense of triumph over despair in the dark corners of creation.

I treat this spiritual quality with formal methods and an aleatoric process that contrasts successive transparent veils with a buildup of paint.


Over the past 20 years I have developed a variety of techniques in the studio, including gestural brushwork, hand applications, spray applications, and image projections. But I have become most interested in the natural tendril-like flow of paint that has a similar look to the "arms" in my source material. I began flooding experiments working with pigment-solvent mixtures drained over areas of canvas.

Paint flow is controlled by tilting and rolling the canvas, letting the pigment define itself in the crenellations of previously worked areas (e.g., work titled Aphanisis, 2011). I sometimes use a brush to amplify the dialogue developing between sequential layers (e.g., God Almighty And His Dog, 2011).

If necessary, I use a sprayed sfumato veil to push the light into the distance before superimposing another layer (e.g., Gorgon, 2011). I manipulate the process to tease out an image, while allowing the work to set mood and feeling as the paint illuminates the blackness of my grounds.