Filipino Painter/Art Collector Alfonso Ossorio, Inspired by Jackson Pollock, On Display With Contemporaries in “Angels, Demons and Savages” at Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York 

"Tattooed Couple" by Alfonso Ossorio, 1950

“Tattooed Couple” by Alfonso Ossorio, 1950

The Parrish Art Museum, located in the Long Island town of Water Mill, New York, is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “Angels, Demons and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet”. The highlight of this exhibition is the placement of Filipino art collector and painter Alfonso Ossorio alongside his idols and much more famous contemporaries, abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and Jean Dubuffet.

Born in 1916 in the Filipino capital, Manila, Mr. Ossorio came from a well-to-do family with great wealth attributed to the ownership of many a sugar plantation.

pollock-number-7-1952

“Number 7” by Jackson Pollock, 1952

As a teenager he moved to the United States, where he eventually attended Harvard University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for training in fine art. He began painting surrealist paintings while simultaneously making his name known as a patron of the art.

After serving as a medical illustrator for the US Army in WWII, Ossorio struck up a friendship with abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock in the late 1940s, after sponsoring some of Pollock’s artwork.  The two both inspired each other in their respective painting styles.

In 1950 Ossorio encountered French artist Jean Dubuffet, a proponent of the art brut movement which is defined as a production of art by untrained artists, created outside of aesthetic norms.

dubuffet-oasis-dwellers-1948

“Oasis Dwellers” by Jean Dubuffet, 1948

This is also known as “outsider art”. In the case of Mr. Ossorio, he supposedly explored art brut through insane asylum patients and children. Profoundly influenced by Dubuffet, Ossorio began to create “congregations” of mixed media assemblages, eventually settling on a so-called hybrid style of abstract expressionism and art brut.

It is Mr. Ossorio’s hybrid style that is the centrepiece and binding factor of the “Angels, Demons and Savages” exhibition, with the works of Pollock and Dubuffet presented alongside the formers’ for perspective and acknowledgement of new and borrowed artistic principles.

ossorio-perpetual-sacrifice-1949

“Perpetual Sacrifice” by Alfonso Ossorio, 1949

“Angels, Demons and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet” will be on display through October 27th, 2013. Water Mills is less than a two hour drive from New York City, and is accessible through local Montauk and Ronkonkoma-bound trains.

For more information on Alfonso Ossorio, please visit the website for the Ossorio Foundation by clicking here. For more information on the Parrish Art Museum, please click here. For more information about the exhibition, please click here.

Mr. Ossorio died in 1990 in New York City; his pieces are housed in the  Harvard Art Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among other sites and institutions.

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