This ongoing body of work examines transitory aesthetics and the rapid interpretation of historically significant visual art by art audiences. Studies have shown that the average gallery/museum visitor spends three seconds viewing individual artworks. Based on the painting of Masters and Old Masters, I question the accepted cultural “value” of the “priceless” object. A fundamental objective of my work is to create a dynamic that engages viewers in evaluating their relationship to art objects, breaking through the casual glancing norm which has become the socially assumed method of experiencing art. I am interested in the dynamic of the actual viewing of original painted images in motion and at different angles, the contemplative intent experienced in transition. My interest expands to include the co-dependence of art in a gallery setting to its label text as well as curatorial input as art content.
By appropriating highly composed and executed subject matter that has withstood curatorial vetting, in most cases for hundreds of years, I eliminate the issue of contents’ significance. Similar to the appropriation of commercial icons by Pop artists, the readymades of Marcel Duchamp, and the compositions of many Hip Hop artists, this work questions assumed relationships within the art environment as well as independently sustaining its own aesthetic and narrative presence. My art is not documentary in nature but is experiential, object oriented (surface, scale, composition) where content expands beyond a narrative subject matter to include the physical and conceptual experience of viewing.
These archival print images were photographically shot in various major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Getty Museum of Art, Norton-Simon Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art , and the Carnegie Museum of Art.
James Osher 2012
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, James Osher attended Carnegie Mellon University and received his Masters of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, studying with John Baldessari and Alan Kaprow. Jamesí career evolved from painting to conceptually focused work, creating a large-scale urban environmental sculpture project for Cleveland State University and The New Gallery. In 1979, he stopped making art objects, and for two year, as a performance artist, became a stockbroker, metamorphosing into a non-artist thirteen year career in the investment industry. In the early nineties, dramatically impacted by his mother’s terminal illness in addition to the public announcement that a close acquaintance and her son were HIV positive and that her young daughter (similar in age to the eldest of his three sons) had died of AIDS, he acknowledged his inherent desire to create objects, and his personal need to communicate through artwork. In1995 James retired from the investment industry and refocused his lifework on art making.
James has exhibited his work in galleries and museums in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Miami, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. His solo exhibition, based on their permanent collection, was exhibited at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greenburg, Pennsylvania in late 2009.