Cohen Gallery, Mario Prisco


The the human body is one of the most powerful forms we can produce in art. It’s what we relate to and experience as a race. It can convey a feeling, a dream, or the absence of either or both. It is strange that abstract pieces can have a similar impact. Something so real and something so warped can reflect each other and give off the same feelings. The Cohen Gallery featured an artist named Mario Prisco from September 16 to October 16, 2016. His artwork is abstract and simple yet powerful and compelling. He shows how powerful form sketches and abstract art can become.

Mario Prisco used to be an Alfred University dean. He worked at Alfred University for about 40 years. His artwork shown in the gallery displays his interest in a variety of art forms. It also shows that he doesn’t completely drop a specific style. Within the gallery there were two sections. One section showed his portraits of women, and the other section showed his abstract landscapes. These two sections were so different they didn’t seem to be the same artist. The contrast helped highlight his flexibility and skill as an artist, showing his years of practice and hard work. He seems to have an amazing grasp and understanding of both organic and inorganic forms to the point where he can utilize several different styles at once.  

One section of the gallery showcased Prisco’s human body sketches. They were made with conté on paper Most of the drawings were of unclothed women. These women were splayed out stretching into dramatic poses. Each image felt like it was flowing. The lines made the image seem free and playful because of how sketchy they were. The artwork in this section was mostly realistic but because of the nature of his sketches some of them had abstract elements. In “Untitled 5” the woman was missing her face and fingertips. This abstraction added to the the power of the image making the woman’s back more prominent showing her facing away from the viewer.

The second section of the gallery showed Prisco’s abstract landscapes. They were made with watercolor on paper. In these landscapes Prisco creates small isolated areas that combine to make a strange full landscape. These images can be ultimately aesthetic focused, or they can tell somewhat of a story or set a scene. In “Imagined Landscape 9” each piece makes a beach looking scene, even though each object may not be beach themed. In “Imagined Landscape 6” each piece seems to tell a small story like the outstretched hand and the full moon. They fill the viewer with questions rather than set a relatable and understandable scene. His work in this section shows the true beauty of abstract art. It makes you question and search something that is barely comprehensible.

Mario Prisco is an incredible artist his pieces are extremely compelling. His full body portrait series displays the fluidity of the female body. Also his abstract landscape series displays story and insight. His artwork inspires research on other styles and mediums because of his diverse art skills.

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