Project Description

01_w_Carole_Silverstein--entangled_spirits,_2017_48in_x_36in_Acrylic_Ink_on_Mylar Carole Silverstein, entangled spirits, 2017, Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 48 x 36 Inches

March 15 to April 29, 2017

Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Carole Silverstein entitled arabesque on view from March 15 to April 29, 2017. The gallery is located inside San Francisco’s newest art complex Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street.

Carole Silverstein’s dense and intricate paintings embody an extravagant beauty. They optically mesmerize and seduce. The trance-like elaborate patterns are painted by hand, often traced through the translucent Mylar and then altered. The process is repetitive, obsessive, and devotional. She begins each painting with a pattern, not knowing how it will grow and develop into a composition. Due to metallic and translucent paint passages, the surfaces are both matte and reflective. One’s spatial experience of the paintings changes according to the light and one’s movement in the room. Responding to the contemporary speed of technology, the paintings invite a meditative slowness.

04_w_Carole_Silverstein--blossom_cluster_of_delight,_2016_30in_x_42in_Acrylic_Ink_on_MylarCarole Silverstein, blossom cluster of delight, 2016, Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 30 x 42 Inches

The term “arabesque” refers to a motif of intertwining or interlocking flowing lines, serpentine and sinuous, that is often found in Islamic art and architecture, like the tiled walls of mosques. It is also a metaphor for infinite connection, a celebration of a diversity of forms within an underlying order of unity consciousness. Silverstein explores similar ideas finding them in many cultures in patterns such as Celtic knots, Japanese clouds or waves, and Spanish interlace, among others. The forms she chooses constitute an infinite pattern that extends beyond the material world, yet often get broken in some way (like the ‘Persian flaw’ intentionally woven into Persian carpets). She explores ideas of sameness and difference, harmony and discord, the human and the divine.

06_w_Carole_Silverstein--a_voluptuous_scent,_2014_40in_x_36in_Acrylic_Ink_on_MylarCarole Silverstein, a voluptuous scent, 2014, Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 40 x 36 Inches

“Subtle spatial shifts in my work–the slippage between figure and ground, with color, surface, and scale shifts–contribute to the subject of veiling and unveiling, absence and presence. There are further associations to textiles, webs, lace, and the feminine domain. The intimate spaces created evoke the hidden–of looking through to another world past a kind of screen, of forms materially dissolving and rhythmically in flux. They are spaces of handmade seduction and extravagance designed to invite sensuous dreaming.”

11_w_Carole_Silverstein--this_sparkling_sapphire_we_call_home,_2014_42in_x_30in_Acrylic_Ink_on_MylarCarole Silverstein, this sparkling sapphire we call home, 2014, Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 42 x 30 Inches

“Additionally, my use of juxtaposed ornamental sources refers to a collapse of global boundaries. In taking these sacred and coded decorative languages into a new combination, I transverse fluid boundaries. In truth, our borders, sense of the other, as well as identities and cultures both personal and global, have always been fluid and interconnected throughout history. It is a feminist and multicultural vision of inclusion, comparison, and disruption particularly poignant in this historical moment. I continue to affirm this in my own poetic visual language.”


Carole Silverstein, Artist Portrait Photo by Moira Sims

Carole Silverstein is a Los Angeles based artist who received her MFA from Queens College CUNY and BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Silverstein’s art has been shown in galleries and alternative venues throughout the United States, and was featured in a traveling exhibition in London, Paris, Berlin, Manila, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. In addition to numerous private collections, her work is in The Salser Collection, Art for Healing, Art in US Embassies in Djibouti, and Citibank. Her art was in the exhibition We Must Risk Delight: 20 Artists from Los Angeles at the Magazzino del Sale at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Two Artist Materials Grants were given as support to Silverstein during her sabbatical year 2016-2017. She has been using Grafix Drafting Film as well as Daler Rowney’s Acrylic Inks for many years, and wishes to thank them for providing materials for this show. 

arabesque is Silverstein’s first exhibition with Nancy Toomey Fine Art.


Carole Silverstein, Artist Portrait Photo by Julio Sims

arabesque – Exhibition Statement (PDF)

Artist Statement and Bio (PDF)