Ray Carofano / Photographic Artist
A Review by Karen Sinsheimer
Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Seeing Ray Carofano’s photographs for the first time one is struck by the singular quality of his vision and the extraordinary way in which he interprets his subject matter. Carofano’s work is intuitive; one senses it derives more from within himself than from the subject itself. The gentle, yet powerful images compel the viewer to pause, to bring one’s own interpretation.
Whether the subject matter is of the human body, man-made structures or nature, Ray Carofano’s images are anything but commonplace. An artist who works solely with the camera, his subjects are reality-based yet he renders them with fresh vision. His indeterminate, desolate landscapes of matter mostly burnt, dying or dead are profoundly evocative, depending on the “psyche” of the viewer. To some they suggest tranquil beauty, to others, mystery and death. Carofano’s landscapes seem infused with metaphysical meanings.
In the photographer’s “High Tension” series, structures seem both powerful yet tenuous. The tension, highlighted against luminous skies, is palpable. Delicate yet strong with design dictated by function, these man-made structures become architectural abstractions of near beauty. His airport terminal with a mysterious black “V” formed by the negative space between two perfect shells is reminiscent of the complex Moholy-Nagy study of the abstract geometries of a factory building.
The seldom observed extemeties of human feet are transformed, in Carofano’s eye, into landscapes as well. The flow of line and light meld into subtle, abstract compositions.
Ray carofano’s viewpoint is remarkably individual. He is a masterful print maker who seems able to extract the richest, luminous highlights along with lush, dense blacks from ordinary photographic paper. His vision and the mastery he brings to his imagery are extraordinary.