Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery

Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery
Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery
Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery
Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery
Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery
Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery

Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery

June First Friday was rainy and 110 Church Gallery stayed open late for me as I ran in with swishy sneakers and sagging socks from the rain. It was 8:45pm and Josette Urso, urso means bear in Italian, was rushing with her patient companion to catch the train back to NYC.  Thankfully she stayed to answer some questions about the collection of paintings in the intimate gallery, we talked for three minutes.

DoN: “Tell me about about your show?  Everybody’s listening.”

Josette: “These are pieces that are all oil on canvas or oil on panel.  They span the last two and a half years I’d say. I work from observation, although, many of the pieces are very abstract. I consider them extrapolations. I’m responding to the natural world and the man-made world. In the past, I would travel and I would work on site but the new pieces now I’m kind of manipulating the on sightness. My studio has giant windows that overlook a city view in Brooklyn. And I’m very interested in near/far, so many times I’m lingering on what’s inside as well as what’s outside. And the weather, whatever’s going on outside very much influences what happens with the paintings.”

“I don’t want to have a system. It’s very important to me to be lost, to get as lost as possible, to get into this unfamiliar, sometimes uncomfortable territory.  And experiment and explore.  I’m an intuitive painter. I really never know what this is going to look like until they happen. They kind of leave me. It’s almost like traveling through the process of making the painting.”

DoN: “Wow. That was a lot of information. So you sit and look out the window and work plein air? I know they’re not the same thing.”

Josette: “I know. I’ve traveled to Ireland, I’ve worked in Taiwan, on sight outside plein air and the pieces, still, they weren’t, I guess I wasn’t interested in the appearance of them. Not the appearance of the place but more a sense of the spirit of the place. The essence of the place, not the appearance. So it’s more abstracted, I guess at the beginning of every painting I’m looking, I can’t rely on only what I know.”

“If I rely on only what’s in my head, it’s a limited vocabulary. I need something to respond to and I’m not really drawn to any one particular place, I mix it up between natural and urban settings. I like to be in a place that I don’t know that well and at the same time it’s really great to return to the places I knew before. I’m looking for that unexpected, I need to make discoveries along the way.”

The exhibition of paintings by  Josette Urso at 110 Church Gallery, curated by Stella Gassaway, is a collaboration with The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, the Philadelphia arts organization that helps artists launch their careers, Josette Urso  is a fellow of the career development program. Then and Now is on exhibit at 110 Church Gallery through July 26th and on July 11th at 6:00pm Josette Urso will be giving an artist talk in the gallery. Make an art date with yourself to listen to an artist who understands the language of art and is articulate explaining her motivations.

Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery
Josette Urso: Here and Then at 110 Church Gallery

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Written and Photographed by DoN Brewer, Contributing Writer, SideArts.com Philadelphia Art Blog

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