Carlos Alfonzo

McMurtry Gallery

Carlos Alfonzo’s new paintings are roisterous and roiling. They project their energy with a hyperkinetic force that can confound equilibrium. Like primal episodes, they appear self-created; they seem more like witnessed events than designed objects, their fecundity and ferocity barely contained at their borders.

Alfonzo’s primary gesture is a sweeping curved line whose trajectory loops into figure-eights, tightens into whorls, and arcs to intersect with other curves. Shift, 1987, is filled with pinwheeling vortices; in Image and Fact, 1989, sweeping segmented shapes resemble the rungs of black ladders. Despite the seeming appearances of eyes and heads, breasts and bellies, the parts don’t resolve into bodies. These linear fictions delineate something independently proportioned, beyond optical synthesis.

Like Wifredo Lam, who built knowingly on a syncretic Afro-Cuban tradition of painting,

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