Review: Ivy Silberstein's Psychic Watercolors

04/17/2017 02:01 pm ET Updated Apr 17, 2017

Art is a mysterious process. Images, metaphors from the subconscious, make their way into the “objective” world, sometimes disturbing, sometimes beautiful. Ivy Silberstein’s gallery — “a room where art meets magic” — on 11th street contains dozens of exquisite watercolor paintings, both beautiful and haunting, arrayed around the room. The palette is largely earthy: ochres, burnt umber, sulfuric pinks, skeletal reds and volcanic browns.

Then, as if by magic, violets, vivid greens, blues and aquamarines appear. The brushstrokes are bold and applied lightly, but with an almost unearthly vigor. The juxtaposition of the earthy-dominated palette and the delicate application of violets greens and blues is jarring to the observer.

And then things get even more interesting.

The closer one looks at Ivy’s work, the more images appear. Small, nestled in warm corners and at odd angles, appear images, faces, “beings.” These images are not consciously created, Ivy told me, on a trip to he studio last week.

And yet — there they are.

Images, as if from another dimension, somewhat indistinct but clear enough to be recognized as, say, “Moses,” materialize under the steady gaze. I saw images from Dante’s Inferno, from the Bible, Silberstein’s infamous Sqrat, the Tarot ... always with a mystical aspect, turning to face the viewer but always also somewhat turning inward, away, into the watercolor.

The effect is eerie. I asked Ivy about this, about these presences in her paintings. She spoke to me about the Kabbalah, about her own mystical leanings and the coincidences in her life and the “coincidence” of images in the abstractions of the watercolors. The paintings are clearly psychic, coming from the mysterious space described by mystics like Jung.

The Art Studio is located at 41 East 11th Street on the 11th Floor. Call 917.210.1100 to schedule an appointment.

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