Wood, metal, gold acrylic mirror
May 3, 2016 – August 1, 2016
FOCUS is a public art sculpture about photographic vision and how it shapes the way we see the world. It is concerned with the viewer’s growing visual perception and bodily experience. It consists of two large rectangular-shaped pieces, one placed in a vertical position and the other in a horizontal position. Each piece has two squared-shaped holes, which serve as an aperture from where viewers can see their surroundings within a limited, yet infinite scope. The sculpture has a golden mirror-like surface that will reflect and project surrounding light. When the viewer looks through the square opening, they will see an abstraction of their surroundings. By limiting the scope of their view, they can take more control over their focus of attention and see things in a mindful way. FOCUS combines the illusionism of photography with the specificity of actual forms in the space to fully engage the spectator and facilitate the apprehension of the work as a whole.
FOCUS is presented as part of Growth: Three Perspectives, an exhibition of public art curated by Warren James. The show features works that explore the concept of growth, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Growth (1985) by Jorge Luis Rodriguez, which is the first Percent for Public Art public sculpture in New York City.
This is the statement by curator Warren James about FOCUS:
“Jose Soto is an artist that, through photography and sculpture, deals with and expresses geometric growth, as seen in the infinite shapes of layered grids and the framing devices for both humans and landscapes. At times telescopic and others monolithic, Soto frames a series of perspectives and points of view and the focal points are the visible growth in and outside the park itself. Placement may include strategic framing of the Rodriguez red steel sculpture and is designed to engage both adults and children. A key aspect of growth is horizontal distance and its counterpart is vertical mass both represented here.”
José Soto was born in Puerto Rico and has been living and working in New York for six years. He earned his BFA from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, San Juan, and holds an MFA in photography from Parsons The New School for Design. Soto uses photography, video, sculpture, and installation to transform the complex visual structures of nature into artistic objects. He creates works of art that explore the physical experience of looking through photography and invite the viewer to reexamine his/her own perception of form, light, and space in the natural landscape. Among the awards he has received are Retrancado, fist_ART.FOUNDATION, Dorado, PR (2014), Permm Stop Public Art Project, Museum of Contemporary Art, Perm, Russia (2012), and Gold Award from B&W Photography (2006). In 2009 he had a solo show in San Juan, presented by Walter Otero Gallery and Viota Gallery. His work has been exhibited in a number of group shows in New York, San Juan, Valencia, and Pingyao. Among these shows are Camera Work, Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY (2015); Hot or Cold?, BronxArtSpace, Bronx, NY (2015); Art INCUBARTE 7, Museo Valenciano de la Ilustración y la Modernidad, Valencia, Spain (2015); Muestra Nacional de Arte, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, San Juan, PR (2015); Región 0: Video Art Festival, New York University, New York, NY (2013); Puerto Rico: Doorway to the Landscape, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, San Juan, PR (2013); Pingyao Photo Festival, Pingyao, China (2011); The Culture of Now, Aperture Magazine, New York, NY (2011); 11 del 2011, Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, PR (2011); and Puerto Rican Photography, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, San Juan, PR (2011). Soto has been a teaching artist for Aperture Foundation since 2014.