“The last dream before birth,” Inés Di Folco’s debut New York exhibition, features canvases with luminous passages that evoke intergalactic atmospheres. Elements of glitter and grit comprise her creaturely beings, who are saturated with gauzy stains that seem to gently illuminate them from within. For instance, the warm mellow tones of Pablo & les roses (all works 2023), which recalls Picasso’s Rose Period paintings, depicts an orange visage that emerges from a field of black flowers. Both flora and figure are enveloped by a rolling landscape made up of inchoate textures evoking some primordial world. Washes of hand-mixed pigment are left to pool and puddle—such moments loosen the divide between subject and surface.
Oasis Tunis nods to Matissean idylls. A single figure—transfixed by an angelic apparition hovering before them—appears front and center in the composition, hypervigilant. UFO-style cloud formations emit a pink light against a Color Field backdrop of fiery, variegated reds. More impish than demonic is Diabolo, a work painted with sooty grays and inky blues. The small, closely cropped subject is mostly featureless, save for its faint-yellow lips and nostrils—perhaps evidence of the beast’s acidic spirit.
One gets the sense that Di Folco’s subjects naturally emerge from the paint. Certain passages echo moments from art history or the artist’s own life, but summoned from the furthest depths of her subconscious. Di Folco invites us to experience the delight of discovery as she uncovers the otherworldly denizens of her numinous realm.
— Eric Sutphin