Josette Urso’s paintings are driven by a sense of urgency. Working from her observations of her surrounding environment, her inspiration is in a constant state of flux as the light, weather, and elements of any given scene changes as she works. Whether working in plein air during her travels or looking out over her sweeping view of Brooklyn from her studio, Urso responds to the shapes, forms, light, and experience of place and seeks to capture that in heavily worked, frenetic abstraction.
Urso begins with broad sweeps of color, paralleling the flow of energy throughout a space. Then she moves to more specific marks, often prompted by a detail from her surroundings that has grabbed hold of her in particular. This process is intuitive and exploratory. Urso turns the canvas as she works, always looking for surprising directions and unexpected juxtapositions. She thrives on the not knowing, and the journey of discovery within her own work.
In recent years, Urso has expanded her sense of space. She contends with both nearness and distance within the same plane, and regularly explores the middle ground between inside and outside. She draws from both organic materials as well as manmade objects and structures, contrasting perhaps a natural form with a synthetic color. Using thick brushstrokes, the tactile nature of her marks gives a further sense of depth and space, as well as a sense that the painting is an object itself. There is a playful rhythm and bright palette that mirrors Urso’s energy and the atmospheres she seeks out.
Josette Urso has exhibited widely throughout the United States and around the world, including at the Bronx Museum of Art, the Painting Center, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Museo de las Americas in Puerto Rico, and the New York Public Library. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, awards, and fellowships including from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, the Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation, Basil H. Alkazzi, Loft Nota Bene in Spain, Camargo in France, Ucross in Wyoming and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY. She has an MFA in painting from the University of South Florida, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.