Paintings from the Edge

The Boca Museum offers Pousette-Dart till it hurts, plus a glimpse of a fine Florida painter


If you too find yourself in Pousette-Dart overload by the end of "The Living Edge," be sure to head down to the far end of the first floor, where you'll find a small but impressive exhibition called "Matthew Carone: Recent Works," part of the museum's Florida Artists Series. There are only 27 pieces in the show -- 18 in acrylic on canvas, nine in mixed media on paper -- but all are worth a look, and a few are outstanding.

Carone, who was born in New Jersey in 1930, is a sort of latter-day surrealist who took a detour into abstract expressionism and back. All but one of the pieces shown here are from the past two years. The works on paper are the most abstract, while the acrylics tend to focus on human and animal forms, although highly distorted.

Abstract yet moving: Matthew Carone's September 11
Abstract yet moving: Matthew Carone's September 11

Details

On display through June 16. Call 561-392-2500.
Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton

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The first (and oldest) picture is the mordantly witty Jacob and the Angel (Tango II), which, as the title indicates, turns the biblical wrestling match between Jacob and the angel into a grim tango. Carone is a protégé of Chilean surrealist Roberto Matta, whose influence is clearly present in many of the other paintings, but in this case, the muse seems to have been Francis Bacon.

Matta, Bacon, and perhaps others appear to be the spirits presiding over Carone's most startling painting shown here, a large acrylic called -- and the image is overpowering even before you read the title -- September 11th, 2001. Rather than try to capture the horror of that day in any literal way, Carone has abstracted it, transformed it into atmosphere.

To the left of the canvas is an elongated, vaguely human-looking creature whose oversized red spinal column appears to be fragmenting. In the center is a tangle of shapes suggesting both humans and animals, and to the right are two swaths of red -- the World Trade Center towers? -- collapsing into an X.

We've all been inundated with so many images of that fateful day that it's hard to imagine someone making us see it in an altogether new way. Carone has done it by creating an aura of dread, anguish, sorrow, and more -- all the unforgettable, ineffable feelings associated with 9/11.

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