Richard Nocera




For Nocera, the presence of black, the presence of white, and the interaction of the two presences comprise a symbolic harmony, a balancing of two contrasting – but mutually reliant – principles. The symbolism reaches as far as his personal life: indeed, it originates there. The Sequoia series is named after the artist’s daughter, born of an African-American mother and a European-American father. The alignment of the basic elements in each Sequoia painting according to color is clear, and in personalizing that alignment Nocera also symbolically extends the resulting harmony beyond his home and into society, American society most of all. But the binary condition of the Sequoia works also speaks to gender principles, the openness and evenness of the ground, the yin to the yang of the active, gestural figure. Nocera locates himself – procedurally as well as symbolically – in that dynamic white figure while honoring the more-or-less unmodulated black field as the grounding force. Neither element is an alien “other,” and the whole that results from their interplay is greater than either of them.

Peter Frank