Critics’ Picks

Tessa Perutz, Summertime Drive, Bourgogne (Peace and Love), 2018, oil on canvas, 28 x 22".

New York

Tessa Perutz

Pablo's Birthday
57 Orchard Street
February 15–March 24, 2018

In Tessa Perutz’s “Karma Solaire,” all but one of the paintings are landscapes made up of brilliant shapes—nature is rendered as an experience of color. Eight of these works, plus a self-portrait with a companion, are presented in memory of Perutz’s friend Paul Saeio, a French artist and poet who died suddenly last year at the age of twenty-nine. The sketches Perutz made during two memorials for Saeio in France—one in Burgundy and the other at his studio in Bagnolet—were the launching point for her current works here, full of vineyards and country roads crowned by trees. In a statement for her exhibition, Perutz tenderly writes that she aims to bring Saeio’s “existence full circle.”

Each painting is like a poem, with crystalline shapes that fit together like a puzzle. Perutz has found patterns in nature and flattened them into abstractions that hint at other images, such as butterfly wings, UFOs, and melting ice cream. In Summertime Drive, Bourgogne (Peace and Love), 2018, the artist pairs rich, dark hues with delicate pastels and creams: Yellow-striped and chartreuse mountains define the horizon beneath a forest-green foreground, and a bright-red sun peeks out from a pale-pink cloud. Indeed, Perutz’s landscapes are both careful color studies and schematic designs. The artist has created a body of work that, despite its origins in death, gives us nothing but vibrancy.