Garden of Eden Series
Acrylic with Sand on Canvas
43" x 48"
Florence Putterman is an abstract painter and printmaker in the whimsical spirit of Joan Miro, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee mixed with the Fauves and the Surrealists, the German Expressionists and Marsden Hartley. Folded into the generous amalgam of her vision was also the spirit of Native American (specifically the Anasazi of the Southwest), Aboriginal and Outsider art, sources that have proven fertile for many contemporary artists. Putterman's work has a primitivistic quality to it, a sophisticated atavism, enhanced by her use of sand and crushed shells to make a crackled, textured support which is gessoed, then layered with sand again before she is ready to paint. Her colors are earthy, pungent, ignited by bold, vivid swirls of reds, greens, blues, yellows, a full spectrum caught up in the roil and turmoil of cosmic energies, in the abundant flow of teeming life that almost seems to sing, a version of Kandinsky's colour as sound.
This show, called "Allusive Metaphors," which also includes a
number of lively monotypes consists of a series of paintings of that name as
well as "Numinous Legends," "Spiritual Presence,"
"Looming Luminescence," "Garden of Eden" and so on, titles
that underline Putterman's profound interest in the spiritual in art, in first
principles and in prehistoric and primitive cultures. They are a restless
lot, humming with vitality, crowded as if she wanted to include--as Noah did on
his ark--an example of everything that exists under the sun. Her choruses
of images, some abstract, some figurative, culled from the intuitive and the
unconscious, tap an archetypal vocabulary of forms such as circles, spirals,
open triangles, mysterious signs and symbols, stylized hands, strange mythical
beasts, birds and fishes. They dance magically across her canvases,
cavorting on the surface, coming forward from the ground rather than retreating
or sinking into illusionary space. These paintings are all foreground and
lateral movement with an impetus outward from the picture plane in a
stratification of painted space that bespeaks a cubist- inspired strategy.
Lilly Wei is an independent critic and curator who writes regularly for Art in America and ARTnews as well as other publications.