In Focus, Osvaldo Mariscotti reinvents recent explorations in oil pastel, translating them into the screenprint technique with master printers at the renowned Brand X Editions. This striking edition equals or exceeds the visual impact of the corresponding unique works on paper. Oscillating lines in a dazzling array of gem tones and metallics engulf four large organic shapes in red, green, orange, and yellow. Is this a psychedelic Zen garden, or perhaps a birds-eye view of an ocean at sunset from an alternate planet?
While those are possible interpretations, the answer is neither. Conceptually, this work melds the artist’s prior avenues of exploration in the series Icons (2012-17) and Nostalgia (2018-19). Icons is characterized by precise, geometric forms and an elemental palette in which “the width and separation between elements conveys the meaning of the work.” Here we see evidence of Mariscotti’s early training as an engineer, yet the artist’s intention is to express ideas surrounding archetypal themes, such as the passage of time and the internal struggles of the individual. The artist explored numerous variants on this idea, including Untitled 1432 (2017), his first print. Against a dramatic black backdrop, a large, yellow rectangle dominates the right half of the composition. At left are complementary red, green, and orange bars equivalent in height; their width is likewise identical. Connecting the two halves, like an equation symbol, is a bold, gestural line in bronze ink.
In Nostalgia, Mariscotti returned to his early interest in landscapes (as seen in his Red Period of the 1980s), delving further into abstraction. He also stepped away from painting, embracing the immediacy of oil pastels and the drawn mark. In these compositions, bio-morphic forms seem to dance across the surface, surrounded by vivid, cragged lines that descend the plane in horizontal waves.
In Focus, Mariscotti synthesizes the minimalist mathematical compositions of Icons with the energized, organic shapes and dynamic marks of Nostalgia. Infused with an invigorating palette, this gestural, conceptual work represents a fresh direction in the artist’s oeuvre.
Sarah Kirk Hanley
Manhattan Graphics Center