This week’s Dan’s Papers cover, “The Thaw,” seems particularly appropriate for its artist, Joanne Rosko. The landscape is real, to be sure, but there is also a bit of unreality in the image. Such a combination fits the aura of the Hamptons as well as Rosko’s style. Her plein air views of the East End, like its boats, marshes and trucks, allow us to imagine what lies beyond the picture plane. We can’t help but create our own picture of the landscape with all its beauty.
Q: Tell us about your cover image, “The Thaw.” Although there’s no snow, which we associate with thawing, you are capturing the transition between winter and spring in a subtle way. Where is the real scene?
A: It’s on a back road near Halsey’s Farm Stand, toward Bridgehampton. As I do with a lot of my plein air work, I started the painting there and then finished it in my studio.
Q: How has the economic situation affected you, if at all?
A: I’ve really been busy the last two years. I’m still selling and getting good feedback. That feedback keeps me going.
Q: What does “busy” mean in the near future?
A: I will be preparing for shows at Silas Marder in May and the Plein Air Peconic will be having an exhibit at Bridge Gardens in March. Then there’s a show at The Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor May through July.
Q: I know you love gardening and photography. But what about painting itself? What does it really mean to you?
A: It keeps me in the present. You cannot think about anything else when you’re painting. It brings me to a place that is calm and joyous. It’s been that way my whole life.
Q: What else did art bring to you?
A: In high school, I would go after class to a museum and stare at a Jackson Pollock painting, for example. I went from immaturity to having an understanding.
Q: Where are your favorite places to paint?
A: Louse Point and a beach in Southampton. I always try to find a new place. I even climb on top of my car to look at views.
Q: Any places not in the Hamptons?
A: The Adirondacks. I go there every year. I will be going to Red Rock Canyon in the beginning of April for the largest plein air conference ever held.
Q: Where would you go to paint that you’ve never been?
A: I’d like to go to France. I don’t know if this is crazy. I’d like to take my time there and not just go for a few weeks. I’d also like to go somewhere out west, like Colorado.
Q: When you travel, what medium do you use?
A: Watercolor; I do free-form.
Q: Did your family have anything to do with your love of art? Were they artists?
A: I came from a family of musicians. My grandmother was in the Boston Philharmonic. My brother’s first degree was in music. I played the flute.
Q: How did music influence your art?
A: I listen to different kinds of music when I paint. Classical, opera, jazz, rock. Music thrusts you into yourself. After awhile, you don’t even hear the music.
Q: If you weren’t a painter, what would you have been?
A: A chef. I love to cook. I grow my own food in my garden and herbs, like basil, parsley, hot peppers. I also do an old-fashioned thing, like canning.
Q: I keep thinking about your style. Is it moving toward abstraction?
A: After the earthquake in Japan, I did a painting for a fundraiser. It was total abstraction. I just had to paint it.
Rosko’s work may be seen on her website: web.mac.com/joannerosko
Contact Bridge Gardens for information about Rosko’s upcoming show: 631-283-3195.