new-york

Amy Sillman

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

The first thing you noticed on entering Amy Sillman’s show of new paintings was The Umbrian Line, 1999–2000, a group of twenty bright gouaches on paper. Mostly small and arranged in a slightly uneven row, they contain elements of Italian landscapes and architecture and conjure a trecento fresco cycle like those seen in the churches of Umbria, where Sillman completed the series. Umbria doesn’t exactly fit into the romantic category of the sublime-but-neglected place, but it’s still a little hard to get there, and patience is required to uncover the region’s rewards—not an inaccurate metaphor for looking at Sillman’s work. Her quirky iconography combines elements from Italian painting and Indian miniatures with cartoonishly rendered figures reminiscent of Tex Avery–style animation, all gorgeous yellow, pinks, and blue-greens interwoven with passages of decorative geometry.

Sillman’s method,

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