New York

Elena Sisto

Damon Brandt Gallery

Elena Sisto’s new paintings combine the media imagery of Pop art with a luscious, painterly expressiveness. On small canvases, each a foot or so square, Sisto bunches various image fragments culled from sources ranging from comic strips to trompe l’oeil drawings, against swirling white or pastel backgrounds.

One of Sisto’s favorite sources is the late Ernie Bushmiller’s classic comic strip “Nancy.” In Sisto’s hands the frizzy-haired heroine becomes a kind of surrogate self, in essentially surrealist narratives. In Stinker, 1989, for example, Nancy pulls back a theater curtain above a pair of staring eyes that frame a penis for a nose; in Hearth, 1989, she’s carried down a ladder by a fireman. There’s a curiously distanced feeling to these images, a sense that the events they depict are recalled like war stories. Alongside the rescued Nancy are several drawings of ladders, as if Sisto were

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