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Alfonso Ossorio: The Creeks - Before, During and After

June 1 – September 4, 2000

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Press Release

This is the first exhibition exploring Alfonso Ossorio's transformation of The Creeks, his East Hampton estate on Georgica Pond which was once declared "the Eighth Wonder of the Horticultural World" by the American Conifer Society.

The Creeks: Before, During and After features thirty-four watercolors created by Alfonso Ossorio in 1932 through 1934 as well as three hundred 4" x 6" color photographs taken by Ossorio as he walked through The Creeks in 1990, the last year of his life. The uncanny similarity between Ossorio’s watercolors, created between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, and his landscape masterwork, The Creeks, created between 1970 and 1990, is remarkable; The watercolors prophesized the fantastic landscape he created several decades later.

The watercolors are fanciful works on paper overflowing with flora of various shapes and colors, pods, streams, paths, birds, butterflies and towers. In the watercolors, we see the influence of early modernism on a very young, impressionable and forward thinking artist. Morris Hirshfield’s phantasmagorical scenes, Georgia O’Keeffe’s symbolic landscapes, Charles Burchfield’s visions of nature and Paul Klee’s whimsical forms are evident in Ossorio's assimilation of styles and mannerisms of progressive art.

Ossorio’s 1990 photographs were taken as a walk-through of The Creeks. To recreate the experience of his arboretum, the hundreds of photographs will be displayed in the order in which Ossorio shot them. The photographs illustrate Ossorio’s perception of his own creation at the apex of its perfection in the last year of his life. Like the watercolors, these photographs have never been exhibited and add a new dimension to the appreciation of Alfonso Ossorio's oeuvre. All of the photographs on view in this exhibition are apart of the vast photographic archive maintained by The Ossorio Foundation.

This exhibition will also include rare video footage of The Creeks shot in 1984 and 1990, including a video by Frank Gillette titled "In The Creeks". In addition, photographs of Alfonso Ossorio and The Creeks by Linda K. Alpern, Rameshwar Das, Bob Giard and Doug Kuntz will be on view.

The Creeks is now privately owned by Mr. Ronald O. Perelman and is not affiliated with the Ossorio Foundation.