PROPHECIES (1975-1976)

"Looking back", said Collazo in 1984, "I see that intimations of my present style flashed forth periodically in my work of previous years. Many times, these isolated paintings seemed to me of no consequence. Actually, they were prophecies, the full realization of which is now on display."4 Such paintings include The Ladies, Left Behind For Cythera, Southold Fen, By A River, Emergence and The Annunciation. These works reflect the influences of Abstract Expressionism, the Italian masters and the eighteenth century French painters, as commented upon in the Index of Paintings: Index of Prophecies (1975-1976). Of The Annunciation, Acker-Gherardino wrote:

"In The Annunciation, which significantly he originally called Desecration, we see perfectly illustrated the all-encompassing awareness that gives Collazo's work its unique thrust. In his searching antiquarianism combined with an acute sense of passing through time, he presents us with a sense of the truly new....

The Annunciation is a seminal work in Collazo's oeuvre, a prophecy of what we see marvelously realized in the 'tapestry' paintings ten years later. As he describes the painting of this picture: he had done a large rendering of Leonardo's Annunciation, so fascinated was he with this master work of the Renaissance painter. Then, he proceeded to 'bring it up to date' by overpainting with sgraffito-like gestures. He 'attacked' the rendered work as time attacks everything, symbolically obscuring it in skeins of event, enriching it with experience.

What Collazo is saying is that we are not fixed in some permanent past where everything is new, as it was when first completed. Neither can we escape back into some former world. We are here, now; the centuries intrude between us and that once new thing, though it still shines through with a continuing richness....

Unlike most painters of his age: self-imposed moderns, cut off in their own small time, eschewing the past in the misplaced rage to be new, Collazo approaches all time, the truly new.

Annunciation is exciting because it shows us the starting point of Collazo's developed philosophy of painting: to live in all time and to see all..."5


The Paintings of Raphael Collazo: Notes

4 Raphael Collazo, announcement card, Recuerdo (I Remember): The Paintings of Raphael Collazo, Art Lobby, New York, September 29-December 31, 1984, extended through April 18, 1985, curated by Ernest Acker-Gherardino.

5 Steve Bush [nom de plume of Ernest Acker-Gherardino], unpublished manuscript, "Excerpt from the Steve Bush article on Raphael A. Collazo's Annunciation in November '84 issue of Blue Food art magazine", New York, 1984.