Critics’ Picks

Amy Talluto, Measured and Divided, 2017, oil on panel, 24 x 30".

Amy Talluto, Measured and Divided, 2017, oil on panel, 24 x 30".

New York

Amy Talluto

Black & White Gallery / Project Space
56 Bogart Street
February 23–April 1, 2018

Opting to paint complex landscapes almost exclusively in one color could make for undistinguished results, but in the ten oils here, Amy Talluto has produced symphonic arrangements of green, ranging from deepest phthalo to honeyed laurel. Dashes of pink, crimson, and yellow also crop up, to shimmering effect. The technical proficiency of her sumptuous compositions, based on forests around the artist’s Catskills home, parlays them into sites of ethereality.

In Measured and Divided, 2017, several dark trunks dissect the foreground, framing a nearby clearing. A haze of impenetrable celadon foliage looms in the distance. Talluto’s atmospheric luminosity remarkably articulates the dank stillness and peculiar, otherworldly light of woodland interiors. Her tableaux are imbued with just enough imaginative splendor to evoke mythical possibilities. As with most fairy tales, much of the initial thrill and tension lies in whether or not the protagonists exist at all. Though we don’t see any supernatural forms, it is conceivable that they might dwell within the tunneled copse of Orange Pool, 2017, or the gloomy canopy of Tree with Fungus, 2016, which reads as a glittering nighttime constellation.

But allegorical hints throughout the exhibition—withered knots, skeletonized limbs—point to sobering prospects. In Red Pool, 2017, one of six smaller gouache-on-paper works, the titular pond looks corroded, perhaps poisoned by human intrusion, so that even when magic is afoot we seem never to be far from destroying it.