Traveling Light


At the moment, edgy travelers probably aren’t too concerned with the view from the window seat, but what first-time flyer hasn’t been fascinated with the landscape 30,000 feet below? Glasgow artist Carol Rhodes’s small oil paintings are composites of various photographic sources, but their perspective is unmistakably aerial: Man-made infrastructure imposes its geometry on fractal coastlines and tessellating patches of land, all of which threaten to dissolve into abstract patterns.

With spare compositions rendered in feathery but deft strokes, Rhodes’s topography manages to avoid both the sublime and the precious. In Runway, a bleak island of tarmac anchors the background’s dreamy horizon, while in Car Park (Night)—a study in understatement—shadowy industrial structures set off a ground of muddy, purplish brown. There are shades of Luc Tuymans in Rhodes’s hazy, low-contrast palette, but the sense of disorientation is entirely her own.

While Rhodes captures the view from the formerly friendly skies, Amy Sillman takes us on a Great American Road Trip. Her Long Drawing, in the gallery’s project room, is a 16-part improvisation along the horizontal axis. Working from left to right, Sillman unravels a bizarre thread of imagery that combines New England flora and fauna with giddy decoration: squirrels, moose, and pine trees pop up next to linear doodles and washes of high-octane color.

Sillman’s work references “exquisite corpse” and other surrealist drawing games with an intimation of purpose, but the Long Drawing‘s final destination is unclear: Is she probing the depths of her unconscious, showing off her considerable imagination, or just having fun? Still, Sillman’s earthbound spontaneity is a worthy counterpoint to Rhodes’s hovering omniscience, and we’re happy to go along for the ride.