This was at the top of the page at artcal, and for good reason. Ellen Driscoll’s latest exhibit, titled FastForwardFossil is a must-see, as hauntingly intense as it is apropos to our time. The theme is environmental armageddon, its centerpiece a massive, floorsized sculpture constructed mainly from cut-up pieces of plastic spring water bottles. A conflation of three real-life oil drilling sites, it packs a wallop the size of an ice sheet, even if it’s melting (and part of it is: there’s a big hole in the upper tier with a half-frozen pool below it where the water has “landed.”) Every ominous portent of the aftereffects of two centuries’ of burning fossil fuels is here, whether overt (the big sinkhole into which somebody’s house has disappeared, the splintered, dead trees) or less obvious (the tiny gallows adjacent to the empty cages). This deserves to wind up in MoMA along with her other works on display there.
The watercolors are awash in richly evocative earthtones, sharing an eerie apocalypticism. An oil refinery sits silent and abandoned, victim of a new ice age. A tanker meets the same fate, as does a stadium. There are also a couple of marvelous multi-frame works, somewhat in the style of a Chinese scroll, the first depicting a pipeline rising from the ground, eventually turning into a highway for a caravan of armored assault vehicles, the second a coastline view from the wall encircling an amusement park, to the polluted beach, to the water as it gets deeper, almost submerging a tin-roof shed and an abandoned car. The exhibit runs through at the Frederieke Taylor Gallery, 535 W 22nd St., 6th Floor through May 16, Tuesday through Saturday, 11-6 PM.