Artist Florence Putterman Page
Florence Putterman’s art possesses high energy, a coloristic ebullience that is matched by an unmistakable intimate quality of expression in which, as she writes in her notes, “…my works do not always depict a certain event but suggest it.” Her pictorial activity, spontaneously generated, often includes scenes in which man lives in harmony with nature through the intercessionary powers of shamans and animals such as the cat, dog and elephant. This cosmic universe, teeming with color and surging forms seem to emerge from Putterman’s fervid imagination as naturally and effortlessly as any artist living in pre-literate times who was intent on marking his cave with natural imagery invoking power and mastery. Animistic energy suffuses her stylized work that emphasizes narratives and motifs suggestive of the interplay between continuity and change.
For many years the artist and her husband have traveled extensively to non-Western countries as they have collected tribal art, focusing on the art of Africa. This collection has reinforced the rigorous observational powers of the artist/ connoisseur to detect nuance within strict formal compositions. The collection has, over the years, continually renewed the artist’s deep ties with primitivistic art’s pantheistic ethos and healing impulses. Such tendencies are as pronounced as are her transcendentalist leanings and the empathy that underlies them. In her notes the artist writes, “ My images are concerned with man, his environment and his interrelationships with all living creatures.”
The artist’s aesthetic vitality brings the viewer to a primordial space that infers an active inborn reality in which there is no static space and where chronological time is displaced by mythic time as in, for example, Circus Spirits II (2010). To intensify this feel for ritualistic power the artist at times applies a textured surface by mixing sand to her gesso in incremental layers to approximate the texture of cave walls. Such a surface helps give the work an ancient, dream-like feel that evokes connection to the layered complexity of Nature.
Auratic presence, optical sensuousness, harmoniousness vitality and compositional rigor distinguish Florence Putterman’s artistic practice. Her vision echoes that of the early Moderns such as Gauguin, Kandinsky, Marc, Mondrian and Klee who, in different ways, sought to counteract the effects of what they considered civilization’s destructive forces. The upshot of all of this is that an animistic ethos infuses Putterman’s visual productions when they depict charged scenes or settings with recognizable shapes and forms as in the paintings Entwined Metaphors XVI (2009) and A Friendly Get-together (2012). The same applies whether Putterman’s pictorial surfaces consist of energetic fields and patterns, hieroglyphic pictograms that recall a long tradition of tribal art, as in, for example, Cross Currents (2008), Entwined Metaphors (2010) and Celestial Latitudes X (2012).
Putternan’s charged, revelatory and joyful vision, so contemporary in feeling, shares a legacy with Paul Klee’s mystical tendencies expressed in his 1920 Creative Credo. He writes, “ …Today we reveal the reality that is behind visible things… there are many more other latent realities…” As the great artistic utopists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Florence Putterman brings alive in contemporary terms painting’s radical possibilities to see the world through the lens of hopeful renewal.
——- Dominique Nahas