The paintings by Tony Serio seen at his open studio on December 7th, 2013 are beautiful for the sense of color and light, the composition, the humanity, the life along the river, beneath the trees. The swaying incantations of compositional gestures in the high-vantage paintings feel akin to Hokusai while the use of color and paint brings to mind the best of Debienkorn.
Playground and Park, Winter 28″ x 46″, Oil on Linen
The way Serio is painting has some correlation to the way Balthus painted. Up close, the work has its struggle and its action. The sense of process, the yearning for and insistence on discovery, on finding the life of the painting in the paint, connects Serio’s work with the work of Oliviera, Park, deKooning, Gorky, and Kline. The most recent of Serio’s works have a new degree of openness as passages are allowed to lead into one another.
In Serio’s Path Near Railroad Tracks, the color passages are delectable in their figure-ground play. The blast of yellow trumpets from the woodwind tones of the foreground and harps the coming of autumn. The trinity of buildings stands at one with the sky in the background, future space.
Path Near Railroad Tracks, Fall 16″ x 24″, Oil on Linen
Using the palette knife with finesse and particularity brings to mind the work of Courbet, with whom Serio shares a sense of wholesome beauty. (Seeing Balthus and Courbet side by side highlights Courbet’s Naturalism while Balthus’ Constructivist sense comes from Giocometti via Picasso). And Serio’s work shares this Modernist sensibility while in temperament, the work brings to mind the compassion of Pissarro.
Family Picnic oil on linen 16 X 20”
The sense of peace evoked by the gatherings of folks by the river is lovely and quietly classical with chords of Puvis de Chavannes and rhythms reminiscent of Poussin, like memories of a time ago.
Trees, Early Spring. 18″ x 24″, Oil on Linen
Here Serio excels in a Cezannesque composition of linear rhythm and counterpoint. Like the violin playing Matisse, Serio is a contemplative musical painter who has been known to play the flute and the banjo. The sonorous harmonic colors are born of a rare sensitivity to compositional coloration.
The most ambitious of Serio’s landscapes are akin to the great paintings from the twenties in Italy, such as those by Sironi, deChirico, and Carra.
The Sutherland 38″ x 48″, Oil on Linen