As everyone moves throughout their life, they see and observe the world in different ways. From these observations we can be inspired to do and create many things. This is a fact that is especially true for artists. How the artist converts what is seen compared to what is shown in the art helps others see the world in a different way. The artist Mario Prisco showed just that at his recent show at the Cohen Gallery, “Observed and Imagined: Works on Paper”. He accomplished this by using many different artistic principles and elements such as color, contrast, and value.
In the landscape recreations shown at the gallery, Mario Prisco focused mostly on his use of colors, contrast and value. The pieces all had vibrant and saturated colors that would not normally be seen in a real life landscape. It was an interesting way to demonstrate and present a landscape. To be completely honest, if felt as if I was looking at a world made of stained glass. Where all the parts are separate yet come together to make a bigger picture. At the same time, the amount of contrast created by the colors, and in some cases the value, help certain parts of the image pop. It was interesting to see pictures where everything was together, yet broken apart at the same time. In his image, “Imagined Landscape #1”, this is seen as the image is broken into a few major parts due to the rigid lines within it. Yet despite this, everything is tied together due to some shapes that break the boundaries set by the lines and complementing colors and values. For the most part, the image is bright but there are some deeper values within it, seen within the contradicting shadows. In fact the shadows are one of the more interesting takes on reality out of everything. Within this image, and the others within the collection, the shadows and value changes do not seem to follow any set light source and move in seemingly random directions. While this may not have been how reality is seen, this is how Mario Prisco’s “mind’s eye” saw and produced after being inspired. By creating these images, others can now join him to see his unique perception of the reality around himself.
For the other part of the exhibit, which featured different poses of a woman, Mario Prisco tried to show her in a more simplistic way as compared to the previous part. He’d did this by focusing more on line, value and form. For example, in his piece “Untitled 6” the change of value is quite obvious due to the lack of color. The changes from darker to lighter values give the woman a three dimensional form despite being on a flat page. Shadows define her form and add depth to the image that would otherwise not be very evident. Prisco used gesture drawings to get the basic form of the woman, then worked with the lines, and value to give the image a more defined form. While the lines are what could be described as “sketchy” the main purpose of the picture is evident. This gives the viewer a chance to look at the “woman” as more of a figure or a form rather than just someone posing. Thus allowing them to break down the figure presented in front of them. The pictures emphasize her form and the flow that is created from her different positions that might otherwise be ignored or bypassed.
While both parts of the exhibit were quite different, they both completed a similar goal. Just glancing at the two parts, one might think that they have nothing in common. When in reality they are both just different ways of perceiving what’s in front of us. In one case, being the “Untitled” series which were drawings of the woman, things are a little more literal and simple. At a quick glance it is obvious that what is being presented is a person. However they are created with enough simplicity that the viewer is forced to actually look closer. They have to look closer to make the full figure and thus recognize the forms and values within the pieces that might not have been noticed before. On the other side of the coin, looking at the “imagined landscape” series, one might need more time to realize what is being shown is in fact a landscape and not just random shapes on a canvas. The viewer actually has to work quite a bit, connecting the shapes and colors and thinking about them before they can understand the whole image. It allows them to be more appreciative of the basics that go into even just one landscape that they may have not gotten if the series were simply direct replications of reality. In the end, both of the series are different ways of displaying reality and both give the viewer a new perspective.
The amazing work which was done using the basic art principles and elements is something many artist which to achieve. The level of skill and ability to display an inspired series to an audience is evident with Mario Prisco. Being able to see reality for what is there, then translating it into something completely new is great skill to have when creating new content. Mario Prisco was able to create entirely new pieces based on what he saw and was able to produce a way to share this perception. This in turn allowed others to be able to see the world in the same beautiful way he is and it is a skill many other artist show try and develop themselves.