Monday, July 21, 2014

by Katie Smith ’15

PHILADELPHIA (July 21, 2014) — They are the serene images that bring us peace in times of chaos: a reflection on the water, the soft shadows cast on the forest floor, and the multicolored carpet of fallen autumn leaves. Artist Alex Losett captures these moments in her exhibit “Rethinking Landscapes” at Saint Joseph’s University Gallery, which will be on display Monday, August 18 through Friday, Sept. 19. A reception will be held Thursday, Sept. 4, 6-8 p.m.

Losett’s 12 oil paintings depict minimalist representations of these moments of wonder.

“Immersed in the constructed realities of a culture neurotically obsessed with meaning, we become alienated from the importance of our own experience,” says Losett. “Nature, however, imposes no meaning on its observers. There is only presence, and we create our own meaning.”

Exploring nature by painting landscapes in a deceptively idyllic manner, Losett presents the natural world as it is observed in the 21st century, forcing the viewer to question whether “pristine” vistas can be taken at face value. First inspired by the beauty she found while hiking in the Delaware Water Gap, Losett returned years later to find that the area had been devastated by an invasive insect.

She found, however, that “the mossy rocks were still there,” says Losett. “The forest canopy still shaded the pebbled streams in intricate patterns, and the naked branches still shimmered in the springtime light.”

Drawing on this experience, Losett began work on “Rethinking Landscapes,” recording scenes in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which she says is “a region marked by many environmental and social concerns, including fracking.”

“Losett's serene paintings bring to life the minute details of peaceful landscapes,” says Associate Gallery Director Jeanne Bracy. “She is clearly adept at noticing every shadow and every nuance that make her pieces realistic yet mystical. ‘Rethinking Landscapes’ allows the viewer to feel the solitude and quiet of the earth.”

A resident of Philadelphia, Losett was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she received an M.F.A. from the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, and later accepted a position as assistant professor of fine art before relocating to Calgary, Canada. There she earned an M.F.A. from the University of Calgary. After moving to Philadelphia, Losett refashioned herself as a freelance illustrator, creating designs for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Please Touch Museum. She has exhibited in Russia, Canada and the United States, and her work is included in both public and private collections.

Saint Joseph’s University Gallery is located in Merion Hall on the James J. Maguire ’58 Campus at 355 N. Latches Lane in Merion Station, Pa. A campus map may be viewed online. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1845 or visit the gallery website at www.sju.edu/gallery.

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