Joseph Zito (Rosa Esman Gallery)

April 1988 · by William Zimmer

Pristine white walls are the hallmark of the contemporary art gallery, but sculptor Joseph Zito neatly gouges into the wall, and the recess is an essential part of his new pieces in this show. Zito explores his “negative space” in an engaging variety of ways: in Endless Void, the sculpture’s cast is the negative shape in the wall, while the positive welded–steel shape is suspended from it. An untitled piece called a chute is a long, slender cut in the wall with a slightly splayed, welded–steel section emerging from it and touching the floor. Other works explore symmetry: both halves in the wall; one in the wall and one on it; and even a white piece with both halves on the wall with highly accented shadows as the negative component. These sculptures have the scale, angularity, and, most profoundly, the nobility of African sculpture. But several monoprints have the look of Richard Serra’s art.