"Rust Never Sleeps: Corrosion and Renewal in Maritime/Industrial New York"
"Leaders in Creativity" series presents painter Pamela Talese
POUGHKEEPSIE (Oct. 8, 2013) – Pamela Talese is an on-site painter known primarily for her work throughout New York City. Since 2005, Talese has focused on its maritime industries, the warehouses on the waterfront, and the ships that come to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for painting and repair.
"Rust Never Sleeps: Corrosion and Renewal in Maritime/Industrial New York" was the title of Talese's 2009 exhibition, which included paintings of waterfront industrial sites and working-class neighborhoods that were either still active or in recession. Considerations about growth and decay are still relevant and will be basis for the her talk.
Through her study and painting of buildings, ships, and public spaces, Talese also considers the aspirations of their designers, and whether their original intent endures or can accommodate new uses. On a more tactile level, she pays close attention to the application of craft and materials, and how they weather over time. Appreciation of time is always central to Talese's work, as is the physical experience of standing out in the scene that she's painting.
Talese brings to her work a patient eye but also a natural sociological curiosity, so ideas about growth and decay, the shifts between traditional uses and new economies, and the attitudes of different generations and cultures are also part of the story that she paints.
It is in the built environment, in any space where humans have made an indelible mark, that she finds the most compelling stories; whether in the five boroughs of New York, the rural plains in the West or, more recently, the streets of Rome. Tales of the conflicts and accommodations between receding and emerging industries are expressed in the landscape, if not actively reported to the painter by people passing by or working alongside her.
The Hudson River Valley provides a useful case in point. Once a thriving, highly industrialized, commercial waterway, the Hudson River conveyed the materials and products from factories, forges and quarries along its edges. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, the mighty Hudson became only more so, making New York the largest city and port on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. While the Port of New York and New Jersey is still ranked third by tonnage, the state's industrial production has withered to cruise lines and kayaking.
Talese's realist tendencies relate to the Hudson River School painters while eschewing the Romanticism they espoused. The Erie Canal was open when painters like Thomas Cole and others were promoting the American pastoral, illustrating their discomfort with and denial of the industries that were its economic engine.
A historian said that "no successful city is a museum to its own past," and Talese's most recent painting focus is on what's working, what's alive or in transition, rather than relics of bygone glory. She is further enmeshed in the current topography in that she transports herself and her painting gear from one point to another by bicycle. Moving through living neighborhoods and sites, she gathers data, collects visual details, and develops themes as she peddles and paints.
About the Artist
Pamela Talese has been exhibiting regularly in New York City since 2003. Her work has been the subject of reviews and articles in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, ArtNews, CityARTS, and Fine Arts Connoisseur. Her paintings are in many private collections in the United States and abroad and in the collection of the New York Historical Society. Talese has been an artist in residence at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming and the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut and has been a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in the spring of 2012 and 2013.
Talese grew up in New York City. She received her BA with a double major in literature and studio art (print making) from Smith College and attended the Art Students League.