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A Bit Of The Best From Tulla Booth

Originally Posted: January 06, 2009

Joan Baum

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"Three Graces" by Ross Munro

Sag Harbor - One of the pleasures of this narrow-space, high-end Main Street gallery devoted to Fine Art and Contemporary Photography is realizing, once inside, that less becomes more. Images are everywhere on Tulla Booth's gallery's opposing walls, leaning up against them, in folders, and hanging in a small back room.

"On Wings Lifted II" by Jane Martin

A center table features a collection of recently published books by several of the artists on display. The space is crowded but not cluttered, an eclectic arrangement that actually invites discovery. Two large black and white shots by Daniel Jones, for example, catch the eye - "Ferry Pilings," sunlit stacks that guard the entrance dock like primitive water guards, and "Beach Fences," a dramatic zigzag composition of linked wooden verticals that cast soft, curved shadows on the dunes.

The pictures are lovely, but across the floor, in a bin, sits, arguably, Jones's even lovelier Shelter Island "Family Tree," a centrally positioned majestic oak whose outstretched arms command a forest floor of leaves and flowers and sunlight, together the images testify to Jones's fine evocation of simple objects in nature as elemental forces.

In fact, the invitation to explore and discover starts at the gallery window, with Jane Martin's eye-stopping mysterious, green-suffused nude back torso, and a misty forest landscape. Martin, who is soloing at Guild Hall through Jan. 18, is seen here with several 'video transfers' - resin-coated video images fixed on wood that take on a painterly quality at once academically old and sensually new.

This ambiguity is particularly apparent in Martin's sepia-toned, Da Vinci-like "Silent Breath," where the curved line of the figure's breast and torso is subtly repeated in a hand movement that almost disappears into out-of-focus hazy light. Other sections of the gallery show Martin in another guise, capturing with brilliant bold color the ferocious energy of waves about to crash onto a beach.

"White Delphnium" by Tulla Booth

Water is also at the center of Ross Munro's unusual undersea images, witty, technical achievements such as "Three Graces," a remarkable composition of three nudes sculpted in play just below the water line. They are caught in light-reflected motion as bubbles gently descend on to them and they cavort with a see-through sheet that swirls around them, an image at once fluid and posed.

By contrast, Karine Laval's swimming pool images, color-heightened cinematic blues, greens and white, focus on torsos emerging from pools and on up-angle shots of viewing stands. A similar slightly stylized perspective informs Daniel Rosenbloom's "Ferris Wheel."

The embarrassment of riches continues - the multi-talented and much exhibited Susan Pear Meisel is seen here with low and mid-line horizon shots of ocean, beach and clouds, all elements reinforcing one another in texture and sense of motion. Her picture collection, "The Hamptons: Life Behind the Hedges" (2000), done with Ellen Harris, rests on a nearby ledge.

The award-winning Burt Glinn, who died last April, is nicely recalled with some of his iconic black and whites, including "Twiggy," "Andy Warhol," and "Liz" on the beach. All show his excellent eye for capturing the powerful and socially (in)famous in theatrical, joyous poses.

Barbara Macklowe, whose photographic realm is wide and diverse, gives ample evidence here why images of her seaside East Hampton flower fields have graced so many decorator magazine covers. Tapestries of delicate stems and brightly colored flowers sparkle against subdued out-of-focus backgrounds, and make for an appealing contrast with Tulla Booth's breathtaking three-to-four stalk flower studies of closely observed pistons, stamens and (almost) see-through veined leaves.

"Dust Storm" by Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry, whose portraits have famously adorned covers of National Geographic, shows why he is a master of color reportage, and more. The 'why' is seen on the cover of his recently released book, "Portraits" (the green-eyed Afghan Girl). The 'more' is seen on the walls and in bins and features groups of men, women and children from all over the world, colorful wide-lens images that inform about exotic dress and customs - Afghan women crowded together in a dust storm, men on tall poles spearing fish.

These photos nicely complement those of Moroccan-born, award-winning photojournalist Bruno Barbey, who has worked on five continents, often shooting scenes that engage with surprising juxtapositions and saturating his images with native-country color.

In turn, the work of Eric Meola, whose "India: in Word and Image" has just been published by Welcome Books, nicely complements that of McCurry and Barbey, though his distinctive hues and compositions attract as graphic designs as well as informative shots of figures in context. His elephant head, decked out front and center in ceremonial color and symbolism, appears on the cover of his book.

As for Blair Seagram's panoramic composites, reportedly the big sellers this past season, look and marvel. Notice anyone familiar on the beach horizontals? The figure is a repeat, the same person shot at different moments (surfing, swimming), the whole an extended combination that forms a faux sequence in motion. And then, of course, there is her fascinating, decorative two-section horizontal of Sag Harbor, Main Street, both sides of the street, absolutely charming. Locate Tulla Booth?

"Ditch Surfer" by Blair Seagram

 • "Holiday Favorites" will remain on view until Jan. 31. The Tulla Booth Gallery is located 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor, www.tullaboothgallery.com.

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Guest (Brenda Abitrante ) from Mississauga Ontario Canada says::
I recently required a signed Tulla Booth piece and am interested in knowing more about it. It is quite large and I cannot find the date, or any reference other than "floral series". Also do you have any idea of its value? Please email: babitrante@yahoo.ca Thank you
Feb 4, 2011 1:05 pm


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