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Reflection and Redemption: The Surrealist Art of Alfonso Ossorio, 1939-1949

November 14, 1996 – January 18, 1997

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Press Release

Reflection and Redemption: The Surrealist Art of Alfonso Ossorio, 1939 – 1949 is the first in a series of exhibitions exploring the evolution of Alfonso Ossorio’s art. Ossorio began his personal evolution with Surrealism during the 1940s, developed with the abstract expressionists during the 1950s, and in 1960 he began creating elaborate assemblages of found materials which he referred to as “Congregations.”

Alfonso Ossorio’s Surrealist works executed between 1939 and 1949 offer a compelling glimpse into his psyche and his response to the tumultuous world. Many of the hallucinatory images are introspective, reflecting Ossorio’s conflicted relationship with Catholicism, his intense response to the atrocities of World War II, and his disapproval of the intolerance in American Society. Ossorio’s works are metaphysical fantasies, often bizarre and horrific, executed with meticulous draftsmanship which reflects an adoration of the Old Masters, particularly Albrecht Dürer. During the 1940s, drawing was Ossorio’s primary medium and accordingly the thirty works in the exhibition are all drawings and watercolors with the exception of three small oils.