Painter Pamela Talese can often be spotted bicycling her way through Brooklyn and Queens on the way to a favorite abandoned industrial incinerator or pair of derelict gas tanks. In the true tradition of the plein-air painter, Talese sets up her easel in situ, the renders gritty industrial details in such a way that they mutate into noble urban landmarks. “I’m not Canaletto” she say, referring to the Baroque artist who painted scenes of Venice, but “I do paint the real life elements of a city, the once useful things that may now be outmoded but still have integrity as objects.”  Talese has a diviner’s ability to root out industrial structures that wind up being demolished, so much so that her friends often say, “Please, don’t paint m apartment building.”

Talese’s show, “718: Changing Neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens” opened September 9th at the Atlantic Gallery (40 Wooster Street). Rarely has a roomful of mostly Manhattanites (including her parents, legendary book editor Nan Talese and writer Gay Talese) been as entranced by paintings of a neon Pepsi sign and graffitied bridges.  Talese, who worked as an interior designer, left the profession to paint full time. “One evening after spending the entire day looking at dizzying, complicated fabrics, I walked across the Pulaski Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens and had a kind of hallucinatory experience,” she says. I looked at the walkway pattern and thought this is so beautiful it can’t be real. I wanted to capture details like that.”