New York

Wallace Putnam

Luise Ross Gallery

Putnam’s late work is joyous, stylish, witty, and bright; whatever is portrayed (a field covered in snow, flowers, the beach in high summer) captures moody happiness. It’s deceptively simple, in the way Wallace Stevens can be. You return to the paintings over and over again, astonished at the way they continue to surprise, delighted by their evocation of something other than pure joy. This exhibition of paintings by Wallace Putnam, produced between 1950 and 1978, showed a mature artist, pursuing a distinctive and idiosyncratic style of drawing in paint.

The best of these paintings are of animals in landscapes. Deceptively spontaneous, their power comes from the strange interaction of the illustrated moment (time and place and subject coalescing in zenlike oneness) with a seemingly effortless execution in paint. And the work is nothing if not painterly, playing constantly with technique,

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