Excerpts from Reviews of the Work of Carmen Cicero

 

…”It is the color that is the secret of these works’ success, a blazing color which stops just short of being garish yet is disruptive…I must admit my taste is toward the more violently surfaced expressionistic works of the ‘70s, but I recognize the necessity of the cartoon mode as an ironical way of regulating “feeling.” …there is an odd affinity with the new expressionism, just as in the earlier ‘60s works, such as The Ignored Prophet (1965), there is an affinity to an older type of expressionism (in the attitude of anxiety as well as the handling)…The paintings are full of good humor and black humor, all of which exists to sidestep the pathos that I think comes naturally to Cicero. He can generate it in the slightest gesture, which is why he comes to repress gesture. Even the gesture of bold color is repressed by being given descriptive point…. The use of the comic to repress has something to do with Cicero’s interest in social observation….In another age, Cicero would probably have been a social realist and/or satirist….”

Kuspit, Donald B. "Carmen Cicero at Graham." Art in America, vol. 72, Dec. 1984, p. 165.

…”“…A disastrous studio fire in 1971 seems to have turned Mr. Cicero toward his own comical version of neo-Expressionism figuration, a vibrant sometimes visionary style enlivened by vigorous brushwork radiant color and a sense of high drama. ……the relatively small “Man With Mask” (1987) contrasts a green hat and a vivid orange mask.
   It is in many ways a perfect painting that some museum should add to its Cicero holdings.”
Carmen Cicero: 'Early Works: 1970-1980s.'" The New York Times [New York], 3 Apr. 2015, Weekend Arts sec. See Full Article