During a two-and-a-half-year period, Joseph Salerno made daily visits to a small stretch of woods near his home in Johnson. He created numerous six-by-nine-inch oil paintings on paper depicting the woods throughout the seasons using an intimate, abstract approach that reflects his personal practice of painting: “Part observation, part invention, part memory, this work has grown out of my lifelong practice of working directly from nature.”
Salerno, a Johnson State College art professor, just received the prestigious Avigdor Arikha Memorial International residency scholarship, an annual award providing a two-week residence in Civita, Italy.
Salerno was chosen from a pool of finalists, all highly accomplished international artists. Shelburne’s Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery will share his working process on his ongoing series, “Woods Edge,” now showing in the gallery through May 23. At 4:30pm on Thursday, May 11, there will be a viewing of the work before the talk begins at 4:45pm. Afterward, there will be time for questions, discussion, and light refreshments. This is a free event and all are welcome.
“When I start the work, I have an initial response to the situation: the day, the light, the color, mood, etc. Immediately upon putting down the first splotches of paint something new will start to emerge and I will feel bound to uncover it, often shaping the paint with a knife, until an image is realized. Sometimes it evolves quickly and resolves itself. Other times it goes nowhere and I struggle to find a new direction in it, taking my clues from the paint and nature equally. The paint is a wonderful fluid, viscous mass that really controls the conversation. The one rule I have given myself with this work is that the immediacy of the paint should reign supreme. The paintings are worked over and excavated, almost like small reliefs or drawings until they have achieved a wholeness and I feel they are complete.”