Amy Talluto Describes a Munch Print – Towards the Forest II

Meditation on a Munch Print

A painting of a person hugging a forest

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Towards the Forest II 1915 Color Woodcut, 20 x 25.5 in (65 x 50 cm), (Exhibited at Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth at the Clark Art Institute)

“An eyewitness described Edvard Munch supervising the print of a colour lithograph in 1896. He stood in front of the stones on which the head of a masterpiece was drawn. He then closed his eyes tightly, stabbed the air with his finger, and gave his instructions. ‘Print… grey, green, blue, brown.’ Then he opened his eyes and remarked, ‘Now it’s time for a glass of schnapps.’ The whole performance, including the air of melodrama and that shot of spirits, was highly characteristic.”

-Martin Gayford, The Spectator

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

A Meditation on Artists’ Residencies, a Dune Shack and the Twilight Zone

Ray Wells dune shack with well pump in the bottom left foreground, Provincetown/Truro 2016, photo courtesy of the writer

Sometimes I find myself scrolling Instagram on a dark day in February or March, just wondering what it would be like to make art in a lighthouse…or in Robert Rauschenberg’s old fishing shack…or in a Florida swamp…or in a small RV in a Utah ghost town…or on an island in Italy. Artists’ residencies are a nice thing to dream about when you feel stuck or in a rut and when life is wearing you down with mundane pressures. Sure, there are the big ones like MacDowell and Yaddo, but those are uber-competitive and hard to get into. There are so many other off-the-beaten-path secret outposts that will happily allow a creative person to try on their lifestyle for a bit. As an artist, it’s so helpful to get out of dodge now and then and hit the road for new sights and sounds.

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

Warding Off Bitterness
Laurie Simmons Woman with Chalk Line 1976 © Laurie Simmons

Last year, I watched a TikTok video where Kiersten Lyons, an actor, was hilariously recounting all her many misfortunes in love and career. Her whole video read like a voyage of self-discovery through rejection, a tale familiar to anyone pursuing a creative life. It was part of a trend on the app that encouraged creators to pair their comeback stories with a gospel song: In the Sanctuary by the Kurt Carr Singers. In the Sanctuary is one of those songs that seems to end, but then a few moments later, starts up again. And this plays out over and over, to almost comic effect, until you don’t know if it will ever end. And it really struck me as an analogy that could be widely applied to all the arts.

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

Art Made in Kitchens

A group of people holding flags

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Luchita Hurtado Encounter, 1971, ©Luchita Hurtado

“There’s always time to do what you really want. When I had children, I worked when everybody went to bed, after 11pm. I would set up at the kitchen table and clean it very well before I would start.”

–Luchita Hurtado

Remember in the darkest, most locked down days of the pandemic, when all of us were stuck within our own walls, and many of us had kids at home too? And we found ourselves having to resort to making work at the kitchen table in between the cracks of work and school. Well, it got me thinking that this was nothing new to the history of making art: a history that wants us to think that its entire timeline is full of swaggering guys in big New York City lofts, hands-on-chins, undistracted by life’s mundanity. But, in fact, the reality of being an artist is rife with personal stories of people who had to make it work. They, like us, squeezed making art in between the oven timer and the kids’ nap, or in between the hours of a demoralizing 9-5. And quite frankly, those artists that find a way to eke through those tough years of limited space and time are the artists that have the swagger that impresses me the most.

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

The Proof is in the Punctum

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Film still from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Once, my day job was a freelance graphic designer and I worked from home in Brooklyn. My desk was in a corner of the combination living-room-kitchen-dining-room, right next to the TV. I had cable, and while I worked, I would put on Turner Classic Movies because they didn’t play commercials. And those of us who worked from home during the golden age of cable know that the middle-of-the-day commercials were the most depressing.

TCM showed black and white movies from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s in an unending ribbon of celluloid, one right after the other. And after months of working like this, it began to amaze me how little the films stuck in my head. They just pleasantly wafted into one ear and floated out the other. There were two exceptions, though, that seemed to have the ability to stick: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey and The Bells of St. Mary (starring Casablanca’s Ingrid Bergman as a nun). And this forgettable/unforgettable phenomenon got me wondering: Why those two? Why did they stick and not the hundreds of others that I had watched?

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

Beware the Leave-It-Like-That

A picture containing text, outdoor, old

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Moby Dick Illustration by Augustus Burnham Shute, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Gather round, me hearties, and let me tell you a tale: a tale about a much-dreaded comment received by many an artist on Instagram and during a studio visit. This comment can sound like a terrifying roar made by a fearsome beast. And it’s called—the “Leave-It-Like-That.

It’s the kind of comment we might receive on our works-in-progress (a struggling fawn just starting its wobbly walk). And we may have blithely thought to ourselves, “Hey, why don’t I post this WIP on the ‘Gram and give people a window into my process!” But…Beware ye who enter here. This generous sneak peek could attract a Leave-It-Like-That (or even its frightening brethren: the “Stop-Don’t-Touch-It” or the “Looks-Finished-To-Me”).

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

How is an Artist Like TV’s Columbo?

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Publicity photo of Peter Falk from the television program “Columbo,” NBC Television

Do you remember how people were bingeing TV shows like The Sopranos or Mad Men during those long pandemic days and nights? Well, I was also bingeing–but on that old television chestnut, Columbo. If you’ve never watched it, Columbo is a detective murder mystery show, but…it’s an anti-whodunnit. The show always opens with all of us witnessing the villain committing the crime (off-camera—which is much appreciated by the squeamish). It’s a unique formula for a detective show because we know right from the get-go who the killer is. The audience watches Peter Falk as Detective Lt. Columbo, guilelessly but cunningly noticing clues, making connections, and solving the case, all the while hilariously pestering the murderer to distraction.

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Amy Talluto: Moments of Light in the Forest


Amy Talluto in her studio in Upstate NY, 2021, Photo courtesy of the artist

Amy Talluto’s paintings and collages depict landscapes, ranging from representational wood-scapes to more abstracted forms reassembling a hybrid of landscape and still life. Darren Jones wrote in Artforum that Amy Talluto’s series of oil paintings from 2017 produce “symphonic arrangements of green, ranging from deepest phthalo to honeyed laurel. Dashes of pink, crimson, and yellow also crop up, to shimmering effect. The technical proficiency of her sumptuous compositions, based on forests around the artist’s Catskills home, parlays them into sites of ethereality.” (Darren Jones, Artforum). Recently, during the pandemic, the artist started exploring collage, resulting in bold cutouts, and consequently paintings, where the previously hinted pinks, yellows and crimsons become central alongside the blues and greens. Amy Talluto participates in The Upstate Art Weekend show at the rambling old manufacturing building in High Falls, NY. This art event was initiated by Todd Kelly, Alex Gingrow and Shanti Grumbine, who have studios in that building and have invited over 30 artists to show their work there from Aug 27-29, 11am-6pm.

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