Lawrence Carroll, Ghost House @MAMboBologna

Lawrence Carroll, one of the main exponents of contemporary painting, will be featured at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna in an exhibition entitled Ghost House, which opens to the public on 12 December 2014. The show traces Carroll’s artistic evolution over more than 30 years through around 60 works produced between the mid-1980s and the present, many of which have never been exhibited before and some realized expressly for the occasion. Particularly significant is the contiguity with the Museo Morandi, the largest public collection of the works of Giorgio Morandi, one of Carroll’s stated models and great master of 20th century painting.
Ghost House is installed in the temporary exhibition galleries where, rather than following chronological criteria, it creates environments that the artist describes as “built on memory”, in which works from different periods are placed in dialogue with one another and with the museum context in the conviction that meaning can be found not only in the individual works but in their relationships, considered collectively and through time, like the narrative overlappings of a story.
Lawrence Carroll defies the critical and interpretive categories associated with the ‘avantgarde’, but works on the modes and times of perception, placing the work and the viewer in a constant interrogation of the meaning of composing and then allowing a pictorial image to appear. The artists from whom he has drawn inspiration are many, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Marc Rothko, Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Cy Twombly and Sean Scully. But prevailing over all of them is Giorgio Morandi, with whom Lawrence Carroll shares a love for the intimate, private dimension, as well as a constant quest to penetrate the complexity of reality through the epiphany of everyday objects, seemingly simple yet imbued with inexhaustible possibilities of interpretation in their multiple combinations.
Like the objects of Morandi, Lawrence Carroll, since the beginning of his artistic career, has meticulously studied the different possibilities of positioning his canvases, which become no longer surfaces but ‘bodies’with multiple faces. The stretchers thus take on different forms and volumes, concave or convex, elements and objects of different kinds are assembled and added such that the painting assumes the characteristics of sculpture, the canvas becomes skin, the wax is ointment, the cuts are drawn lines but also openings into a deeper interior dimension.
Carroll’s use of color is apparently monochromatic, where there prevails a particular shade of white obtained with successive layers of paint that allow imperfections, weaves and traces of previous interventions to show through, a neutral non-color, saturated with memory, which Carroll calls simply “off white”. It is a white that strives to be as close as possible to that of the canvas itself, which often covers a previous paint layer, providing the artist with the possibility of going back to ground zero for a new beginning. Carroll started doing this at the beginning of his career, without knowing that it would become a constant for the next three decades, and still today he has not yet exhausted the possibilities.