by eric o’dell, Catalog Essay from Painters' Reel, Contemporary Painting in Georgia, a Traveling Exhibition.
Radiant Night, 2008, 78 x 66 inches, acrylic on canvas
by Eric O’Dell
Corrine Colarusso has combined a long time exploration of the landscape with a growing interest in bioluminescence. Her work is approachable, but you must be careful. Her territory is not demarcated or protected by fence lines of irony. These “vessels of mood,” as she calls them lie in a very deep place. Corrine’s paintings do not snap you up. Instead, you are absorbed. Much like trying to traverse the land of the trembling earth, the Okefenokee, I sink into her work from eyes, to heart, to mind.
I want to be alone with Corrine’s work. I want to be in them.
They resonate with the feeling of big solitude that is welcome and wordlessly contemplative. And, like an ancient epic, the largeness is comprised of well-crafted, well-turned couplets that stand on their own. Corrine knows how to handle paint.
There are passages within passages. The subject and material emphasize a liquid primordial process appropriate to nature
and painting. I don’t sense timeliness; I see and feel, in the distant and often dark horizons, something timeless.
In her work you can find passages of faded growth caught either in a fading light or dying moment. Maybe it is both. From somber undertones emerge vitality, growth and bloom, fullness and illumination. Marks seem to dance out of the dark as you follow the memory of Corrine’s hand and brush. Subject, process, color, and mark are rightly orchestrated time and time again. She always hits the right note. The varying horizons are movements, and the brighter living things lift from the earth tones. Somehow she captures full cycles of the living and dying on these canvases.
I am absorbed into Radiant Night. It is a large and mysterious painting. Night encroaches and descends from all around. The background is delineated by the subtlest of differences between dark tones. It is the foundation upon which the painting is built. Then there is an onrush, a burst and pulse of light. Is it the last glint of sunlight? Has some weird luminescence pushed to the foreground through the flora? Dots and dashes of light sparkle and flare up; it is mysterious and right. This aria surges upwards. It becomes spiritual to me, this deftly formed and fully alive yearning that prevails upon the dark mood of the landscape. Corrine has me. It is a painter’s book of genesis, where earthbound constellations move upon the face of the deep.