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Exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Paul Corio on view at McKenzie Fine Art
Giant Finish, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 96 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- McKenzie Fine Art is presenting an exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Paul Corio running through Sunday, March 13, 2016. This is the artist's first solo show with the gallery; his work was seen previously in the gallery’s group exhibition, Color as Structure, in 2014. Born in Providence, Rhode Island and educated at RISD and Hunter College, Corio has lived in New York for nearly thirty years, and has been exhibiting his work internationally for the last decade.

Paul Corio’s paintings are about the interplay of color blocks sequentially arranged to create illusions of light, atmosphere, space, and dimensional structure. He oscillates between the system-driven and the improvisational in his choice of hues, often combining both approaches in a single work. For Corio, the colors themselves are the true content of his paintings, and the geometric compositions of triangles, rectangles and parallelograms employed are more of a non-hierarchical ensemble of shapes. Ultimately, the spatial reading of his paintings is dependent on the placement of colors and the exploration of tonal values within each work.

Color value, the relative lightness or darkness of a color, is often progressively varied by Corio as an organizing principle. Within each painting’s set of shapes, the color selection may shift between bright, dull or any hue of the spectrum, so long as it falls within a specific value range. The resulting space can be read as a strongly three-dimensional relief or as the effect of swelling light, both illusions especially pronounced in Corio’s depiction of repeated diamond forms. Many of Corio’s paintings have a rhythmic, pulsating Op-like intensity as the eye travels across the surface of the work. In other works, variations in contrast cause ribbon-like bands of color to recede or project as they meander across a white ground. In another approach to painting, Corio systematically embraces chance to establish his color placement. The numbers of the winning horses from a particular day at one of New York’s three racetracks dictate the rotation of multiple color wheels set in a grid. Dimensional diamond and boomerang shapes randomly emerge where like-colored sections of the “pinwheels” touch.

Corio’s multifarious pursuits inform both the conception and construction of his paintings. His long-time interest in thoroughbred racing yields his randomized color wheel system and also provides the majority of the titles for his paintings. Other titles come from spy and detective fiction, samurai cinema, or jazz music. Corio recorded and toured as a drummer with a number of punk bands in the 1980s and 1990s; these days he plays jazz.

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