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Joseph Santore: Watercolors and Drawings

On the Roof with Goya, watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper, 9 x 11 15/16 inches, 2014

The New York Studio School Gallery presents Watercolors and Drawings from New York City based artist Joseph Santore. Watercolor is a new medium for Santore and has led to a smaller scale in his work, allowing each piece to include the entire scope of the artist’s view-the tangle of the studio, the large industrial windows, the Long Island City-scape and tumultuous sky. Each piece is a close inspection of space, figures, and accumulation of items-careful yet bold recordings. Reflecting the studio space itself, the works evolve as organisms, organically growing, changing, and responding.

The posed figures in Santore’s space are as much players as the characters beyond control-the sea gulls twisting in the wind, the workers on the adjacent roof tops, the swollen cloud formations. Santore’s use of watercolor introduces a balance of slow chronicling with risky moves to capture the vibrating collision of interior and exterior. Weather and time become subjects. The artist writes, “Every day is different, some new action like the color of smoke from a stack in the distance, the flags billowing one way or another, or standing dead still.  It’s like watching a new movie.” The drawings and watercolor paintings are immediate life studies, harmonizing chaotic and calm, dense detail and open expanses. Santore also includes moments of transcription, which add a touch of surrealism to the otherwise purely perceptual works, as figures from Goya and Giotto appear in the skies.

Joseph Santore (b. 1945) is a recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award (2010), the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1993-94), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fund Fellowship Grant (1988-89), and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (1985), among others.  Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Lohin-Geduld Gallery, Edward Thorp Gallery, and the Phoenix Art Museum. Public collections include the Cincinnati Museum, Hunter Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, Tucson Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Denver Art Museum, and the Figge Art Museum.  Joseph Santore has been a dedicated Professor at Bard College for over 12 years, and has also taught at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons, Yale, and the New York Studio School.

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