"Few, if any, gallery visitors used a Thomas guide to get to the Carol Es solo show 'Memoir' at the Craig Krull Gallery. But the memory of that portable book is there, lingering, for so many of us. And now all those guides to the streets of Los Angeles County (and Orange for $19 extra) are useless. Except when Carol Es gets hold of them. Each page taken from an old guide has a small painted memory, fragile, intimate, yet universal.
"Those pieces are but a small part of this show. 'Memoir' runs the gamut of recollection methods. Longtime fans will spot the odd ovular shapes of paper as fabric patterns, upon which [they have] poured tense emotive recollections of [their] childhood as the [child] of a pattern maker. And yet, there is a univerality to all of this. If you never picked up a Thomas Brothers Guide or sewed a patter together, there is a universal embrace of life as an awkward fit for those sensitive enough to grasp it's absurdities.
"The majority of the show is a series of small and medium paintings dealing with the imposing nature of abstraction. Round forms reminiscent of Jean Arp with paint applied as if by Clyfford Still are composed in a way that they 'read' to the viewer as heads. Long black lines that would ordinarily be used to define pure, formal space have what appears to be shoes attached - defeating the super-serious exploration of pictorial heroism that midcentury abstraction claimed.
"And yet, at their heart, these are not adversarial pictures. They are paintings about being one's self. Better an artist make a legitimate expression of who they are and fail at making an abstract painting than to simply regurgitate all that has come before and ask for cuts in line for mimicking art history. Should an abstraction painting is impossibly anthropomorphic automatically be ignored? Carol Es gives us an art that measures our reactions as a way to reflect our values."
- Mat Gleason, Art Critic and Curator
This show opened at the same time I launched my written memoir, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley--a book that took me over ten year to complete. This collection of paintings seemed very relevant to the book, a most address my life as it was between 1975 to 2009, which is the duration for when the book takes place.
That's a lot to cover, I know, but it is an important, yet tragic story. But it's not just another survivor's tale. I think it's a creative perspective through moments of vulnerability where raw and intimate realizations are laid open for all to see. As an artist finding self-worth, I've been told it's considered courageous.
I suppose I've always addressed my art a lot like I do my writing. Creating narratives form the nexus of life's reflection and its turning points take some guts. All the while my diaries of experience, nostalgic photographs, personal letters, and paintings transform into tangible visual revelations to be loved and acquired. It's actually my honor.