Trygve Lie Gallery:   Kamilla Talbot: My Scandinavia   Feb 4 - March 19, 2016            


Coiled Line
oil on canvas
48 x 36 in.

Trygve Lie Gallery may occupy a windowless basement, but it's spacious and elegantly lit – and at the moment it boasts an especially vivid impression of broad sunlight, thanks to the nearly 30 seascapes by painter Kamilla Talbot. Produced mostly during the artist's stay last summer in Denmark – where her great-grandfather was a celebrated painter – these watercolors and oil paintings depict the surrounding sea and islands, often seen from aboard a sailboat, with sails, rigging, and fellow passengers framing the views. All these works possess an immediacy of light and space; views that could have been merely scenic attain a true substantiality – the expansiveness, weight, and tensions of actual experience.

The watercolors make full use of the medium’s unique potential for luminous, blossoming color. (And was there ever a subject more amenable to watercolor than bodies of water?) The artist nimbly catches the optical (and in fact paradoxical) effect of liquid waves turning, up close, into crisp facets of reflected sunlight, and, in the distance, into sonorous, atmospheric blendings. Even as transparent washes, her colors weight the location of elements in such works as“Austevoll Sunrise 2,” in which earthy greens lend a wholeness and density to a foreground slope. Beyond, blues and purples, subtly differentiated, recede as islands in a brilliant turquoise-blue sea, while yellows and reds blaze as the rising sun above.

Several works combine silkscreen and watercolor, intriguingly contrasting the uniform surfaces of ink with the blending and granulating effects of watercolor. The largest works are oil paintings, among them “Coiled Line,” in which the sweeping curve of a boat’s gunwale, bisecting the image, locates the viewer tangibly on the deck that fills the foreground. The gunwale’s shadow subtly darkens a slim portion of the deck, adding dimensionality to its broad plane. Just beyond it, the sea recedes rapidly as ribbons of rich, jewel-like blues and greens. We get a powerful sense of first-hand experience, not through the tactile impression of a breeze or the smell of salt air (though those associations almost immediately follow) but through the visual comprehension of the artist, expressed in the language of painting – a language which Cézanne so aptly described as “a harmony parallel to nature.”

Trygve Lie Gallery
The Norwegian Seaman's Church
317 E 52th St, New York, NY
212-319-0370 · www.trygveliegallery.com