Throughout his prolific career, Italian-American painter Osvaldo Mariscotti has remained dedicated to the interaction of form and color. His recent body of work, Seasons—live now on Artnet’s Buy Now platform—is an emotional journey and a reflection on the passage of time.
“Mariscotti’s work represents the ideal of what I believe art should be: not a tool, but an honest and pure representation of human emotion,” explained Marcelo Zimmler, the founder of New York’s Upsilon Gallery, who has partnered with Artnet for this sale. Zimmler first connected with Mariscotti in 2012, and the duo have collaborated on several exhibitions and projects since Upsilon was founded in 2014.
We sat down with Mariscotti to learn more about his creative process, inspiration, and new body of work, Seasons. Read on, and don’t forget to shop Buy Now: Seasons by Osvaldo Mariscotti, live now through September 27.
Can you tell us more about your creative process? How does a painting go from an idea to a finished product?
The creative process takes place in my mind, it’s not something you can see or feel. Every project or painting starts the same way: with an idea. I then develop that idea in my mind until it is complete. I begin painting only when I know what the work will look like at the end.
When I’m working on an entirely new series, I like to sketch and even work through studies, because that allows me to experiment and try new things without much hassle. This part of the process can take any amount of time—as long as it takes for me to feel comfortable enough to express an original idea.
Which artist in the canon of art history has most influenced your own practice? Which of your contemporaries most inspire you?
As a young artist, the painter who interested me the most was Pablo Picasso. Most people talk about Cubism when they refer to Picasso, but in my case it was his use of color that I found most appealing, especially during his Blue Period.
Later on, having witnessed my own shift toward abstraction, I naturally became more interested in artists who had undergone similar transitions. Piet Mondrian is the most notable example of that process, and I have great respect and admiration for Mondrian’s contribution to the canon, having successfully made the transition from realistic figuration to geometric abstraction. His Broadway Boogie-Woogie at the Museum of Modern Art is one of my favorite paintings of all time.
How has your practice evolved over the years?
Over time my work has become bolder and more well-defined, currently geometric as opposed to free-form.
What or who inspires you?
Nature. My current work is non-representational; however, I draw greatly from the real world, and especially nature, to paint. I am very sensitive to my surroundings, and even small changes in the weather or temperature can have a major effect on my performance.
The sun is my main energy source, which means I’m usually at my best on sunny days. I need to feel good to paint, and in a way, that inner joy is my main driver. My paintings are representations of my emotional state at a given moment in time.
What is the significance of color and color blocking in your works? How do you go about selecting colors?
My latest works are characterized by their bold, well-defined colors. In general, I prefer to work with primary and secondary colors. I speak through color, so my choices set the tone of the work, and what I am trying to say.
I like color blocking because it is clear. A red square is exactly what it looks like—there’s nothing ambiguous about it. The same can be said about language and its use to convey a message. Depending on your word choice, the message will be more or less clear. I want the message of my art to be crystal clear. It is a snapshot of my inner self at a given moment in time.
Can you tell us more about the significance of the title of this series?
Seasons has to do with the passage of time. Each season is associated with a specific color palette, which can have an effect on one’s mood. Seasons exist in a sequence that repeats itself endlessly, which is also the case with emotions. There is no sequence to mood changes, but they are all connected. Seasons represents an emotional journey based on a specific color palette.