Mario Prisco Essay

Vanessa Foster
Constance Pennisi
Foundations
Oct 19, 2016
Mario Prisco Gallery
Viewing the works of other artist can be of great inspiration to others, and help them better understand a specific style or the mindset behind an artist’s works. Even if one cannot fully grasp the innerworkings of a piece, or series of pieces, it can still help them better understand the point or reasoning of special types of works. Recently I viewed Observed and Imagined Works on Paper by Mario Prisco at a nearby art gallery, which had pieces from two groups of works. One was a series of sketches of naked women while the second was an abstract collection of watercolors.
Mario Prisco is the former dean of Alfred University School of Art and Design, who is now a renowned artist. Mario had served as AU’s dean twice, and even now he tries to keep in close relations with the school. He had been doing galleries in Hornell on works ranging from his first piece in 1947 to recent works from 2014 before taking his gallery here to Alfred, displaying two series at the Cohen for a month, ranging September 16 to October 16. His gallery in Cohen is displayed across two rooms on the first floor, each room had between 10 to 16 paintings, with two different series displayed separately in the different rooms. One series of works is that of naked women, seemingly posed out on cloth of some kind, and all the pieces are titled “Untiled”, followed by a number. The second series is of abstract watercolors, titles “Imagined Landscape”, again followed by a number.
The “Untiled” series of work, done in 2014, with each piece depicting a naked woman posed or laying on a cloth. The pieces are done with conte and drawn on paper, and each piece is simplistic with only basic detail and cross-hatched shading. The conte of the figures and shading is of a red hue, and lighting is done on with a white conte. No major sketching lines can be seen, but some pieces have apparent areas where the initial drawing was moved to fix the forms of the women. One piece, “Untitled #16”, depicts a woman laying on her side in the cloth, slightly balled up. Her angle gives us a view of her face, detailed fairly well. The main part of her body is also drawn out to near completion, with the drawing fading out around her feet, hands, and her hair. All the pieces in this series seem to be simple observation drawings of woman, studying their form and laying them out on paper.
The second series of images is “Imagined Landscape”, and each image is abstraction done in watercolors on paper. The landscapes are composed of simple shapes and planes that overlap, with some planes colliding and breaking into each other to create 3d forms that seem to break space and typical form. The piece “Imagined Landscape #1” has sections of the paper boxed off, yet overlapping in the shapes contained within some. The image pulls the eye all around it and has no definitive shape or resemblance to a actual landscape, with odd shapes and planes all around it. “Imagined Landscape” manages to create a feeling of order and disorder at the same time, due to the abstract shapes working together to create a almost harmonious image.
Cohen’s gallery Observed and Imagined Works on Paper by Mario Prisco manages to showchase two extremely different types of art; tradional observation sketches and the abstract, colorful, creative work. It helps showcase just how far an artist’s skills and styles can range, and helps to inspire other artist and give them a better understanding of movements.

Works Cited
“Alfred University : News.” Alfred University : News. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
Edizel, Gerar. Mario Prisco Returns with Drawings and Watercolors. Alfred: School of Art and Design NYSCC at Alfred U, 2016. Print.
Prisco, Mario. Imagined Landscape #1. 2015. Watercolor on Paper. Cohen.
Prisco, Mario. Untiled #16. 2014. Conte on Paper. Cohen.
Tribune, Jason Jordan The Evening. “Former Alfred Dean Still Inspires through Art.” The Evening Tribune. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.

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