Despite her relative isolation in producing this body of work, Tota was profoundly influenced by years of amateur art classes and her personal interest in medieval and modern art, particularly the work of Surrealist artists Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali. These influences, combined with references to fairy tales and children’s book illustrations, resulted in a unique personal vision that guided her creative impulse. Tota’s work cannot be defined as entirely mainstream, outsider, visionary, or surreal. It is instead a rich tapestry that weaves numerous influences into a vibrant and singular body of work.
Organized in collaboration with the Memorial Art Gallery of the Univeristy of Rochester, this groundbreaking exhibition demonstrates that Josephine Tota was a singular artist whose late-in-life artistic awakening merits attention and celebration.