Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Taking Place": Josette Urso @ Gallery 221 HCC Dale Mabry

Lynn Whitelaw and Josette Urso at Gallery 221 talk.

Back in 1984, I met Josette Urso. She was graduating from USF. Fast forward 28 years, and we met again at Gallery 221 HCC Dale Mabry. "Taking Place", her one-woman show of eighteen drawings, twenty watercolors, and a short movie, surrounded us on the walls.

Work by Josette Urso

For this exhibit, one of Josette's drawings was scanned and printed on mylar, taking up one of the gallery walls. This allowed viewers a different sense of scale and a chance to immerse themselves into one of the drawings.

Work by Josette Urso

Josette Urso "Taxi Times 2"
The majority were aerial views of parts of NYC as seen from the windows of her Brooklyn studio or other places, complex rectangular planar overlays of tall buildings and their windows forming patterns in a flattened perspective. These views were of a banal, unspectacular nature, if anything in NYC can be said to be unspectacular. The point of view is simultaneously immersed in the city, yet not entirely, rising above it, although it is not hard to imagine that it is mirrored more or less in the view depicted. This metaphorical inference of innerscape and cityscape (or other kinds of outer-scapes), as a mutual affirmation runs throughout the drawings and watercolors in this show. A visual manifestation of a brief interactive system between the artist-as-observer and the subject as the observed.

Josette Urso, "Savannah Kinzie 2"   

Her influences in the landscape include Helen Torr [Link], Arthur Dove [Link], Charles Burchfield [Link], Marsden Hartley [Link], and George Bellows [Link].  These influences include biomorphic aspects, not in a direct way, or as a conglomerate, more as a synthesis. 

Josette Urso, "Sorrento, Grimaldi, 2010"
Josette's views of NYC and her other landscapes in this show have a sense of place, the specificity of their feel, form and light. Perhaps going as far as identity. Although the works depict specific places, realism is secondary to the artist's feeling about them, and a kind of resonance between the two. They are done plein-air and many are of places the artist has visited in her wide-ranging travels.

Works by Josette Urso

The watercolors have a lot in common with the drawings, and their colors and sometimes their forms have eloquently poetic characteristics.   

Like so many artists, Josette has gone from 2D to 3D (jewelry) to 4D (video). With the same title as the show, her six minute "Taking Place" video consists of her going out for walks with the camera pointed down. It is an aerial view of her fast-paced New Yorker walk, her feet and shoes poking in and out of the bottom of the frame, keeping time like a metronome. In a way, it comes across as a kind of mapping. They remind me of films from the lunar lander as it got close to the moon's surface. Besides the feet and colorful shoes (that change during the video), the shadows projected and edges of the sidewalk provide reference points.

Congratulations to Josette Urso, Katherine Gibson, Gallery 221 for a very good show.

--- Luis

Work by Josette Urso

No comments:

Post a Comment